Men's Tennis

Men's Tennis: What Yannick Noah Said, Really Meant and Definitely Did Not

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 18:  Former professional tennis player Yannick Noah presents 5 times Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault with the new yellow jersey on October 18, 2011 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Linus FernandesAnalyst IINovember 21, 2011

Yannick Noah Asserts Spaniards Have Magic Potion

What he said:

“For now, the sport is like Asterix at the Olympic Games: If you do not have the magic potion, it’s hard to win.”

Former French tennis star, Yannick Noah, set the cat among the pigeons with his remarks in the French daily, Le Monde, accusing the Spanish players of doping.

Noah is the last French male to win at Roland Garros.

In an editorial for the leftist paper, Noah wrote:

When I still milled around on the courts with my racket, we weren’t ridiculous, far from it, against our Spanish friends. Same on the soccer fields, the basketballs halls or on the roads of the Tour de France. Today they are running faster than us, are much more stronger and only leave us the bread crumbs. Compared to us, it’s simple, we look like dwarves. Did we miss something?

Noah ended his column with the following words:

“Let’s stop the hypocrisy. We must of course respect the presumption of innocence, but no one is fooled. The best attitude to adopt is to accept doping. And everyone will have the magic potion.”

The Spaniards were quick to react.

David Ferrer told DPA:

Your son [Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls] plays in the NBA, where there are no doping controls. This is not the best person to talk, I think it’s total ignorance. For a person who has played tennis and knows how the sport works to say that is outrageous with reason or thinking.

Former Wimbledon champion Manolo Santana said:

It seems out of place. Spain is now the leading power of sport and statements like that are not good for him and not for sport in general … When people want fame, the only way to have it’s messing with a person or an entity as large as Spain in sport. In basketball, soccer, tennis, Formula One, athletics—in all sports Spain is at the forefront.

The French minister for sports, David Douillet, distanced himself from Noah’s remarks.

Douillet said:

“I am living proof that one can win without doping."

Douillet is a double Olympic judo champion, winning gold at the 1996 and 2000 editions. He is also a four-time world champion.

French doubles specialist, Michael Llodra, apologised to Rafael and Toni Nadal for Noah’s remarks.

Llodra said:

"I’m sorry about what Noah said. We don’t understand.He’s stupid and maybe he was… (drunk).”

What Yannick Noah really meant:

“I can’t explain how the Spaniards keep trouncing my fellow countrymen. It must be hocus-pocus.”

What Yannick Noah definitely didn’t:

“Asterix was French and he couldn’t do without his magic potion.”

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