War has often rendered sporting venues inactive.
Shadows of the past: Roland Garros holds some dark secrets
But the Roland Garros stadium, in a remarkable period dubbed by the French as their "dark days", was to endure a different fate as hostility broke out throughout Europe for the second time in the 20th century.
Some tennis historians have called it a "shameful" history, and the French
Tennis Federation chooses to ignore it in its literature charting the life
and times of the home of the French Open.
But the guardians of the championships had little choice when, in 1939,
Roland Garros was converted into a concentration camp.
It was used at first by an insecure French government, as it sought to house
political dissidents, aliens and other suspect types.
But, as the war raged on and as German occupation spread, it was "home" to
Jews who would later be shipped East to their doom.
One such inmate was the author Arthur Koestler, who chronicled his
experiences of political imprisonment in "Darkness at Noon".
Koestler, who escaped Nazi detention to flee to England, wrote: "At Roland
Garros, we called ourselves the cave dwellers, about 600 of us who lived
beneath the stairways of the stadium.
"We slept on straw, wet straw, because the place leaked. We were so
crammed in, we felt like sardines.
"Few of us knew anything about tennis, but when we were allowed to take our
walk in the stadium, we could see the names Borotra and Brugnon on the
"We would make jokes about mixed doubles. Indeed, compared to our experiences
in the past and the future, Roland Garros was almost an amusement park."
Throughout its 74-year history, it is an episode that Roland Garros would