The French Open at Roland Garros is the world’s premier clay court tennis event.
Which got me thinking, who was Roland Garros, and what did he do to get a famous tennis venue named after him?
My thoughts led me to Google. And, other than websites related to the Grand Slam tennis tournament, the Google results gave me information related to a French aviator named Roland Garros. My immediate reaction was that he couldn’t have anything to do with tennis, so I kept on searching.
But, I was wrong.
Roland Garros was a French Aviator
According to the official Roland Garros website,
Roland-Garros was an aviation pioneer who, on 23 September 1913, had become the first man to fly a plane over the Mediterranean.
In 1927 France pulled off a big upset and beat the US in the Davis Cup, which was played in the US. This called for a rematch in 1928 that would be held in France.
Such a match needed to be played at a worthy French venue.
Three hectares of land, which is now known as Roland Garros, was handed over to the French Tennis Federation, with the only condition that it be named after “Roland Garros”, a renowned former member, who had died ten years earlier.
My online research shows that in World War 1 Roland Garros invented a machine gun that could fire through a propeller and because of this he successfully beat some Germans, until they came back to beat him.
So there you have it.
The venue of one of only four grand slam tournaments in the world and the only grand slam played on clay, is named after a French aviator.
Who played tennis before he went to war.
If you have any more intel to share about Roland Garros and his tennis achievements, please add a comment below.
Is it just wishful thinking that when plans to renovate and extend Roland Garros come together that there will be a court named after Rafa?
Until next time,
Grand Slam Gal