Rapport

The indomitable spirit of Roland Garros

Among the four tennis Grand Slam tournaments, Roland-Garros has a distinctive character that demands technical ability and determination. The stadium is dedicated to an outstanding individual, but this contributes more than most people realise.

Each year le Stade Roland-Garros provides a platform for the world’s most brilliant tennis athletes. Although many people assume the stadium is dedicated to a sporting legend, Roland Garros was actually a fighter pilot.

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At the beginning of the 20th century, the world of aviation was experiencing a revolution. The Wright brothers flew their first motorised aeroplane in 1903, followed by a community of enthusiastic pilots trying to conquer the skies. A mere ten years after that inaugural flight Garros became the first aeroplane pilot to traverse the Mediterranean, establishing his reputation within a highly competitive arena.

During World War I, Garros devised a system that greatly improved the accuracy of aerial gunfire. His stroke of genius enabled him to shoot between the propeller blades of his own plane, turning him into a feared and respected dogfighter.

After he was captured by the Germans, he spent three years in a prisoner of war camp before he made his escape. Shortly afterwards he was back in the cockpit until he was brought down on October 5th 1918, just one day before his 30th birthday and five weeks from the end of the war. His legend is fittingly commemorated by the airport on his home island of Réunion and at le Stade Roland-Garros in Paris.

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Today the stadium serves as a focal point for his determination and combative nature. Whereas the grass of Wimbledon is more suited to a fast game, Roland-Garros’ distinctive clay surface slows the ball and forces the game to be played differently. This year Peugeot International Brand Ambassador Novak Djokovic was victorious, becoming one of only three men to hold all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously.

 

To mark over 30 years of inspired partnership, Peugeot has introduced two special edition models, imbuing custom designs with a character that reflects the stadium and its namesake. Incorporating the stadium’s white and orange colour scheme, the Peugeot 108 TOP! Roland Garros is very much at home in the big city, available in 3-door or 5-door versions; and the Peugeot 208 Roland Garros is a chic hatchback available as a 5-door version.108208