In a world far removed from tennis, Roland Garros was a pioneer of aviation, a hero of the First World and a man whose life was an illustration of courage and determination.
Born in Saint-Denis-de-La-Réunion on Reunion Island, he flew for the first time in the spring of 1910 and rapidly carved out a legendary reputation. On 23 September 1913, he achieved his greatest feat of aviation by becoming the first person to fly across the Mediterranean without stopping. He set various records and also perfected machine-gun fire through the blades during the First World War. He was taken prisoner in April 1915 but managed to escape after over two years in captivity. Tragically he was to die a few months later at the age of 30 in an air battle, just five weeks before the Armistice.
10 years after his death, his name was chosen to celebrate the champions of tennis.
© Musée de l’air et de l’espace-Le Bourget