Jacques Secretin as we remember him (Photo: Malcolm Anderson)
It is with great sadness that the passing of Jacques Secretin is announced; he died on Tuesday 24th November; he was 71 years old.
He will be most remembered for winning the men’s singles title at the 1976 European Championships in Prague and one year later in Birmingham the mixed doubles in partnership with Claude Bergeret at the 1977 World Championships
Born on Friday 18th March 1949 in Carvin, located in the department of Pas-de-Calais, in the north east of the country bordering the English Channel, Jacques Secretin started to play in an era when the basis of the racket used today was established. In fact, until he was 12 years old he used a racket covered with the traditional pimpled rubber and no sponge; playing away from the table came naturally.
In 1976 in Prague, after recording a fourth round win against Hungary’s Janos Borzei, he beat Antun Stipancic, Milan Orlowski and Anatoli Strokatov to become European Champion.
Success and a return to France where in L’Equipe, he was voted the second best sportsman of the year behind footballer Marius Trésor; in the same year had won the French Cup when representing Olympique de Marseille.
Meanwhile, at the World Championships, in the later rounds Jacques Secretin and Claude Bergeret accouted for the Soviet Union’s Sarkis Sarkojan and Elimra Antonian, Korea Republic’s Lee Sangkuk and Lee Kiwon before securing the title at the final expense of Japan’s Tokio Tasaka and Sachiko Yokota.
Claude Bergeret described the success as a “Beautiful Adventure”, it very much also described the way Jacques Secretin played.
He is sadly missed.
A tribute will appear in the April 2021 edition of the Swaythling magazine