Yannick Noah was the first French player to win a Grand Slam tournament in the Open Era, overturning the prediction and defeating the outgoing champion Mats Wilander in the 1983 Roland Garros final. Only Mary Pierce managed to emulate him by winning the second Slam of the season in 2000.
On the occasion of his 60th birthday, Yannick gave a long interview to the French newspaper L’Equipe, where he expressed all his admiration for Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. The Big 3 have dominated the modern era like no other in the history of tennis, in addition to conquering the last 13 Slams played.
Noah: ‘Federer has normalized the exceptional’
“I have a lot of respect for Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic,” Yannick Noah said. “They have imposed themselves on the sport because they constantly play against each other.
Well, of course, I put Roger aside. He has normalized the exceptional, so much so that it becomes mind-blowing. I still (like to) hit a set with him because there is always a point when he is going to get something out of me that I don’t understand.
Damn, dude, how does he do that!” – he added. The 60-year-old Frenchman also spoke about the mercurial Nick Kyrgios. “He (Rafael Nadal) offers something else,” Noah said. “When I see that he is serving under-arm because Rafa is standing six meters behind the baseline, I go crazy.
I get mad with rage because of the reaction of people who say it’s disrespectful. These people don’t understand anything (about tennis). Nothing! If you play ‘normally’ against Rafa, you lose 3, 3 and 3 after having successfully completed a great match.
If you don’t try anything, you have absolutely no chance. I really believe that if you work it seriously, serving under-arm can be a weapon against a Rafa or a Thiem, who stand very far behind the baseline (on clay)”.
Noah captured a total of 23 singles titles and 16 doubles titles, reaching a career-high singles ranking of world No. 3 in July 1986 and attaining the World No. 1 doubles ranking the following month. Since his retirement from the game, Noah has remained in the public eye as a popular music performer and as the co-founder, with his mother, of a charity organization for underprivileged children. Noah is also the father of NBA player Joakim Noah.