Just as France has produced few major tennis players but, when it did, they were great (the "Four Musketeers" — Lacoste, Cochet, Borotra, and Brugnon), so it has sent forth only one but a great croquet star, Louis Jourdan, the cool and debonair Gaul, the bane of his opponents on the Samuel Goldwyn courts.
Jourdan (not to be confused with Louis Jordan of the Tympany Five) has the perfect temperament for the game — self-discipline, self-control, self-confidence and self-esteem. His attack on the game resembles his aproach to his talk-sing rendetion of Lerner and Loewe's touching song, Gigi. Subdued at first, he becomes more assertive as it progresses until his crescendo of "Gigi!" lifts you out of your seats, as in croquet his final precise crushing of the ball into the stake lifts you out of the contest.
Jourdan treats his croquet opposition with the same assuredness, bordering on arrogance, as he does the TV audience, certain that all are aware that Canada Dry has the finest "wah-tah" in the world. (I trust the Perrier people or Evian don't hang him in effigy!)
The most impressive part of Jourdan's game, in addition to his smooth stroke, his patient attack, lies in psyching out an opponent. This he does by lighting a cigarette before his opening shot, inhaling deeply, placing it on the ground next to the stake and then proceeding to conquer all nine wickets, unhindered whether he has only one, two or three balls off which to play. He becomes a rover in time to pick up the same cigarette, take his second drag, and with a mere trace of a gracious (or is it supercilious?) smile, say, "Your shot" to the unhinged opposition.
Jourdan is a gentleman at our game and has added manners and talent to the often fiery struggle. Welcome to the Croquet Hall of Fame.
Louis Jourdan was inducted into the United States Croquet Hall of Fame in 1981.
Louis Jourdan in Wikipedia
Louis Jourdan in Maui Croquet Club Gallery