106 | Pariz » Paris The2020FrenchOpenisunlikeanythat’sgone before. at’sprimarilybecause it takesplace under the unusual circumstances causedby the pandemic. For a start, we didn’t watch top tennis being played in late May as we are accustomed to. And although the tournament may have been cancelledduring the twoworldwars, the Paris Grand Slam has never previously been rescheduled or postponed. is year it was shifted to the start of autumn and brought some new images. at’s because both Paris and Roland-Garros look completelydifferent in the autumn. As the sun sets, the stadium is bathed in a golden glow that reflects off the surrounding buildings, which we’ve never seen before. Paris is already changing colour and starting to turn red with fallen leaves, while the air carries the scent of roasted chestnuts, all of which provide reasons to enjoy the seasonal shift by taking long walks through the beautiful streets of Paris, even if you aren’t among the fortunate fewwhomanaged tobuy tickets towatchthe tennis. However, if you are among them, it’s good to know that those less appealing things that autumnbrings, such as rain and inclement weather, will no longer result in playbeing stopped. PhilippeChatrierCourthas entereda newera and is nowcoveredwitha retractable roof. Composed of 11 magnificent roof constructions, this new canopy pays homage toRolandGarros himself, a French war hero and pioneer aviator who flirted with clouds. And it’s actually inOctober, ormore precisely on the 6th of the month, that Garros would have turned 132, whilewemark the102nd anniversaryof his death theday before. And althoughmany think that this stadiumwas named after some deserving tennis player, that couldn’t be further from the truth. at’s because Roland Garros was a pilot, a national hero, the first man to attach a machine gun to the front of a plane, while at the same time he was also, of course, a lover of tennis who played the sport for recreation during his days in Paris. It was actually the racquet that his comrades smuggled to him while he was held captive in Germany during World War I that saved the young Roland’s life. A map of Germany was hidden in the handle and, after many reversals of fortune, he finally arrived back in his homeland. Isn’t that symbolic? He veryquickly returned toactiveduty andwas shot down just a day before his 30th birthday. He is also remembered by France and the rest of the world for the fact that he was the first pioneer aviator to complete a non-stopflight across theMediterranean Sea, fromFréjus-Saint Raphaël on the FrenchRiviera toBizerte inTunisia. e stadiumthat carries his namewas built for the purposes of theDavisCup in1928, initiallyon threehectares of land donated to the French Tennis Federation by Rugby Club Stade Français, which gifted the land under one condition: that the stadiumbe named after war hero Roland Garros. Andso it is thatduring theunusual autumnevenings of 2020, as darkness falls over Roland-Garros, the usual silence is replacedby the sounds of excited cheering, echoing through the night. And the lighting of street lights no longer signals the end of the show in Paris. anks to new floodlights at the stadium, matches can continue into the dense autumn darkness. Paris est toujours une bonne idée... Pariz već menja boju i počinje da crveni sa opalim lišćem, a vazduh miriše na pečeno kestenje Paris is already changing colour and starting to turn red with fallen leaves, while the air carries the scent of roasted chestnuts iStock / espiegle