Apollo’s competitive nature extends to the bedroom as he attempts to follow Zeus’s womanizing ways. He’s not married (thankfully), but he does try to chase several goddesses and mortals. The emphasis is on try; he’s successful more than not, but he’s still far below Zeus’s scorecard, and Apollo is one who would want to keep a scorecard.
He is one of the gods who witnesses Aphrodite’s infidelity with Ares, but of all the gods present, he is one of the few who never receives her attention. Hermes, Poseidon, and Dionysus all couple with Aphrodite, but not Apollo, despite his desire to do so.
He also falls short when it comes to mortal women. He desires and pursues Daphne, even attempting to rape her, but she runs away. She runs away, and prays. At the last moment she is either whisked away by Gaea, switched out for a tree, or turned into the tree itself, depending on the version of the myth. Either way, Apollo firmly believes that Daphne has become the laurel tree. And having failed to actually rape her, he symbolically rapes her by taking the branches of the tree as one of his symbols. This is one that gets passed down to the modern day. The laurel wreath around the head became a symbol for royalty. The Romans adopted it as the sign of the emperor, and it is the basis for that most royal of headwear, the crown.
Apollo meant the trophy (for that’s what it is) to showcase his prowess, that he conquered Daphne, but the reality is that it’s a sham, a boast he makes, but one that he failed to complete. Had he been able to truly conquer Daphne as he intended, the resulting proof would have been in the most usual form, a child. So, instead, the laurels on his head—meant to be an accolade for achievement—are his consolation prize.