Jacques will be most remembered for his stunning performance at the 1976 European Championships, winning the men’s singles title in Prague. A man of many talents, he was also a trusted doubles partner, landing mixed doubles gold alongside Claude Bergeret at the 1977 World Championships in Birmingham. Bergeret described the success as a “Beautiful Adventure,” which was also a fitting description for the way Jacques played.
Born on Friday 18 March 1949 in Carvin, Pas-de-Calais, in the north-east of France, Jacques’ table tennis journey was forged 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 to Jacques and would later shape him into one of the country’s all-time greats.
Enjoying a highly successful career which merited five World Championships medals and several at continental level, in 1976, following his title success at the European Championships, Jacques was voted the second-best sportsman of the year by French newspaper giants L’Equipe. A fine and lucrative achievement and an honour he was highly deserving of.
Jacques was also known as a great entertainer, delighting fans across the world with his expansive approach and incredible routines. He famously returned to the table in the 1990s, wowing spectators and players alike with his mesmerising exhibition displays at the Qatar Open.
The whole table tennis community remembers a true icon of the sport. He is sadly missed.