Yannick Noah (1960- )
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Yannick Noah won the Roland-Garros tournament in 1983 and began a second career as a singer in 1990. © AFP/ Joël Saget
Yannick Noah won the Roland Garros
On 5 June 1983 he won the Roland-Garros tournament against the Swedish player Wilander. © AFP / Dominique Faget
Yannick Noah was born in Sedan in the Ardennes to a French mother and a Cameroonian father who was a professional footballer. Spotted by the American player Arthur Ashe in Cameroon, where he had been living since the age of three, Yannick Noah returned to France at the age of 11 to train in Nice, winning his first major junior tournament at Wimbledon at the age of 17.
A Davis Cup finalist with Henri Leconte in 1982, it was the following year on 5 June 1983 that he won the Roland-Garros tournament against the Swedish player Wilander. When he succeeded Marcel Bernard, who won in 1946, the thirty-seven year wait for France was finally over.
He retired as a professional in 1991. The same year, he became captain of the men's team, leading them to win the Davis Cup, which he did again in 1996.
But in the meantime, Yannick Noah recorded his first single - Saga Africa - in 1990. Taken up by millions of spectators at the Davis Cup Final in 1991, the song enjoyed unexpected success. His second album, Urban Tribu, very rock-inspired, confirmed this career turn in 1993.
Since then, in addition to his singing career, Yannick Noah has been involved in the Les Enfants de la Terre charity created by his mother in 1988, and Fête le Mur, an association using tennis to help disadvantaged young people integrate into society, which he created in 1996. Since 2007, he has been voted one of the most popular personalities in France (Journal du Dimanche prize).