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Why is French Open also known as Roland Garros? 

By Pallavi Kanungo,

Roland Garros was a French fighter pilot who died during World War I.

French Open was officially named as Roland Garros in 1928.

French Open is a Grand Slam tennis tournament that occurs once every year in Paris, France. This year, it will start from May 16. However, this tournament is also known as Roland Garros. Let us find out the backstory of this alternative name. 

How did Roland Garros become the other name for the French Open? 
French Open was first played in the year 1891. Back then, only French nationals were allowed to take part in the tournament. However, French tennis players travelled across continents and played in various popular tournaments. In 1923, they were able to defeat Americans in the premier international men’s tennis tournament, David Cup. This was the first big-level victory for the French in tennis. Following this event, two years later in 1925, French Open was made international and all tennis playing countries were invited to participate in it.  

The French decided to defend their title, but this time on their own soil. This is when they decided to build a tennis stadium as a tribute to this victory. In 1928, when the stadium was ready, the authorities who owned the land requested the French government to name it after their contemporary war hero, Roland Garros to honour his contributions in World War I.  

From Davis Cup to all other major French International tennis tournaments started being held in the Roland Garros stadium. However, no tournament got the limelight as that of the French Open. As a result, it was unanimously decided to officially name French Open as Roland Garros.  

Who was Roland Garros? 
Roland Garros was a person who was in no way associated with the game of tennis. Born in 1888, he was a French aviator and a fighter pilot who served during World War I. In fact, he is known as the world’s fighter ace and was also the first person ever to have flown over the Mediterranean Sea in the year 1913. He was responsible for inventing an armoured propeller for fighter planes, for which he was awarded by the Aero Club of America. He had died on the war-field at age of 30. 

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