Winner at just 23 years of Roland-Garros, Yannick Noah was not prepared for such success on the Parisian ocher. The one who has since swapped his rackets for a microphone confided in the JDD on the “big depression” which followed this magnificent title.
In a week, there will still be a dozen French people treading the clay courts of Roland-Garros and hoping to succeed Yannick Noah, the last winner of the Parisian Grand Slam in 1983. But their chances seem as slim as a victory for Alvan & Ahez in the Eurovision Song Contest, which the Breton group also finished in second to last place, with nine small points. The former world number 3 can therefore sleep soundly, he who has won the Porte d’Auteuil tournament at just 23 years old. “A star Is Born”titled The Team, the day after this coronation which surprised all tennis observers, and even the person concerned. Because the one who grew up in Yaoundé, in Cameroon, was completely unprepared for the consequences of this exploitand experienced a troubled period in the following months.
“I was thinking that maybe I would have more chicks, more wheat…”
At a time when words are being released about the mental health of athletes, with Naomi Osaka as a whistleblower, Yannick Noah told the Sunday newspaper having crossed “a big depression”. No more gasoline in the engine, the feeling of having reached the Grail and having scratched his goals, the carefree kid of the time seems lost. “My dream had come true quickly. This love that fell on me was a heavy thing. I wasn’t ready at all.” underlines the father of five children in this interview. And to add: “That was not what attracted me to the idea of winning Roland. I told myself that I might have more chicks, more wheat, that’s about all. Glory, but no questions asked. My number was still in the phone book.” Sophrology and an exile in New York will help him get out of the tunnel and find pleasure on the courts. But Yannick Noah had already gone to the other side of the net: bye-bye snowshoes, make way for the stage!