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Bernard Destremau (French pronunciation: ​[bɛʁnaʁ dɛstr.mɔ]; 11 February 1917 – 6 June 2002) was a French tennis player, tank officer, diplomat and politician.

Bernard Destremau
Bernard Destremau 1951.jpg
Bernard Destremau in 1951
Country (sports) France
Born(1917-02-11)11 February 1917
Paris, France
Died6 June 2002(2002-06-06) (aged 85)
Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Turned pro1934 (amateur tour)
PlaysRight-handed (one-handed backhand)
Grand Slam Singles results
French OpenSF (1937)
Wimbledon4R (1951)
US Open4R (1937)
Grand Slam Doubles results
French OpenW (1938)
Wimbledon3R (1946, 1950, 1951)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Wimbledon4R (1946)



Destremau was born in Paris into a military family, the third son of a WW I general. A precocious French junior champion in the mid-1930s, Destremau later won several major tournaments including the 1941 and the 1942 Tournoi de France which in war-time was not counted as a grand slam event. He also won the 1938 French Championships doubles (with Yvon Petra, beating Don Budge-Gene Mako), was a semi-finalist in 1937 in singles (losing to winner Henner Henkel), and won several national titles including the 1951 and 1953 French National singles championships. Destremau was also a quarterfinalist in singles at Roland Garros in 1936 and 1938. He stayed an amateur, devoted his tennis mostly to the Davis Cup, the King of Sweden Cup and other team matches and was ranked 1st in France for several years. As a veteran he won the Wimbledon over-45 doubles event with Bill Talbert, in 1964. He had been a Wimbledon familiar with numerous Championships' entries, Davis Cup ties and other fixtures.

During World War II he escaped from occupied France to Spain and North Africa. After joining the Free French forces as a tank officer, he fought in France and Germany, was shot in the back near Toulon and wounded on two other affairs by hand-grenade shrapnel. He received the Legion of Honour on the battlefield from the hands of Marshal de Lattre.[1] After the war, still playing tennis for France, he became a diplomat and was posted to Egypt during the Suez Canal crisis, South Africa and Belgium. Venturing into politics he was elected député for Versailles in 1967 and held the seat until 1978, became Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in 1974, and retired in 1981 after a last post as ambassador to Argentina.

Destremau married Diane de Pracomtal in 1954 and was the father of a daughter and two sons. His wife died in December 2016.

A prolific writer of books on history and politics, he became a member of the French Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques in 1996. He wrote his autobiography, Le Cinquième Set, and a biography of General Weygand.

His son Christian has written books on WWII intelligence (Garbo, Ce que savaient les Alliés, Le Moyen-Orient pendant la Seconde Guerre Mondiale), a biography of Laurence of Arabia and Churchill et la France, a book about the lifetime relations of Winston Churchill and the French. None of these works have yet been translated into English.

Sebastien Destremau, the sailing professionnal who has competed internationally (Sydney-Hobart, Vendée Globe, Route du Rhum), is his great-nephew.


Grand Slam finalsEdit

Doubles : 1 titleEdit

Result Year Championship Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1938 French Championships   Yvon Petra   Don Budge
  Gene Mako
3–6, 6–3, 9–7, 6–1


  1. ^ "Bernard Destremau". 2007. Retrieved 10 July 2008.
  2. ^ Robin, Solenne. "Prix Bernard Destremau" (in French). Canal Académie. Retrieved 15 July 2008.

External linksEdit