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See Ya Later, Alligator: Lacoste Dies At 92

Rene Lacoste, the French tennis champion of the 1920s who transformed his nickname - "Le Crocodile" - into a status symbol on polo shirts around the world, died Saturday (Oct. 12, 1996). He was 92.

His daughter, Catherine Lacoste, said Sunday her father's heart failed in his sleep Saturday in a hospital in his hometown of St. Jean de Luz on the Atlantic coast, four days after surgery on a broken leg. Lacoste had been ailing for years because of prostate cancer. Lacoste was the last survivor of the "Four Musketeers" of French tennis - Lacoste, Henri Cochet, Jean Borotra and Jacques Brugnon. Frenchmen won all six Wimbledon singles titles from 1924-29. Lacoste was the world's No. 1 player in 1926 and 1927 and won seven major singles titles in his career: Wimbledon twice, the U.S. Open twice and the French Open three times. And in perhaps the most meaningful victory for his country, he helped France win the Davis Cup in 1927 by beating Bill Tilden and Bill Johnston. France then held the Davis Cup for five more years. But Lacoste is perhaps equally famous for creating the embroidered alligator that has adorned millions of shirts. His nickname, "Le Crocodile," or the alligator, apparently came about af ter he admired a crocodile suitcase in a store window, and his Davis Cup captain promised to buy it for him if he won an important upcoming match. He never got the bag, but U.S. sports writers took up the name, he said, because it described his style on the court. Funeral services were scheduled today in St. Jean de Luz for family members only. TENNIS Hingis Wins First WTA Title Martina Hingis, the 16-year-old Swiss who has fast become one of tennis' rising stars, won her first WTA tournament title, beating Anke Huber 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in the Porsche Grand Prix in Filderstadt, Germany. …