"I wanted to express things" - Former French Open winner Yannick Noah on quitting tennis for music

Former French tennis star Yannick Noah.
Former French tennis star Yannick Noah.

Yannick Noah, one of the most popular tennis players of his time, decided to retire from tennis in 1996 and switched careers. While he was always interested in music, he became a professional music performer after retiring from tennis, and recently elaborated on the reasons that led him to bid goodbye to the sport and take up music.

The 1983 French Open singles champion said that he wanted to express himself in a meaningful manner and gradually started to become disinterested in tennis. The Frenchman was also known for his active humanitarian work while still playing tennis.

Noah admitted that he "got bored" of listening to fellow athletes and staying quiet on topics he wanted to speak about, and the 62-year-old opened up about wanting to express himself during a recent interview with Le Journal du Dimanche.

"Between my image and my humanitarian convictions, something was wrong. I didn't want to be the negro on duty anymore, I wanted to express things," Yannick Noah stated.
"I can be wrong, talk bullshit, but if someone asks me a question, I answer. And during this time, I get bored listening to people who always say the same things, starting with athletes. So I went from No. 1 to… non-existent!"

During his time on tour, Noah won 23 singles titles and 16 doubles titles, achieving a career-high ranking of No. 3 in singles and No. 1 in doubles. However, the 1983 French Open title remains one of his most memorable achievements and among the most famous Grand Slam-winning campaigns in French tennis history.

Yannick Noah further reveals why he prefers music over tennis

BNP Paribas Masters - Day One
BNP Paribas Masters - Day One

Yannick Noah reflected on his tennis career and compared it to his time as a musician. The Frenchman suggested that he has enjoyed performing on stage more than playing on the court, as losing matches was painful for him.

While he won an impressive 23 titles, Noah highlighted that he played as many as 200 tournaments and would have liked to have won a lot more.

"I never feel stage fright before going on stage. This was not the case with tennis, where the sentence is to palm. As much as winning is powerful, losing is painful. During my career, I must have played 200 tournaments, I won 23 of them. In fact, difficult days," Yannick Noah said on the same.

Noah also made the semifinals of the 1990 Australian Open and reached three quarterfinals at the US Open. He backed up his 1983 French Open singles title with a doubles title at Roland Garros next season.

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Edited by Keshav Gopalan
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