Gauthier Delomez / Photo credits: AFP 06:00, June 01, 2023

For the 40th anniversary of his victory at Roland-Garros, Yannick Noah agreed to confide in the microphone of Jacques Vendroux in an exceptional podcast entitled "Yannick Noah, between you and me". The legend of French tennis looks back on his early career, in search of sporting results but also love of youth and "cars"...

At the beginning of Yannick Noah's career, behind the up-and-coming champion that he was, there was a young man looking for goals off the tennis courts. "What was my motivation? They're bizing me, I'm going to n***** them," he says in reference to his fellow boarding school who had welcomed him, before embarking on the quest for a youthful love. "Once it's done, I'm shy to die because I don't have clothes, my parents didn't have the means. But I tell myself, when I'm going to be good, maybe one day this little Sylvie will see me..."

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"One day she agreed to play mixed doubles with me. She was happy, she played a lot. For her, it was good, and I played with the most beautiful '' of the club. It was my motivation," continues Yannick Noah, in an exceptional podcast entitled Yannick Noah, between you and me.

"The beautiful car is the gonzesses vacuum cleaner!"

In addition to the girls, Yannick Noah reveals, at the microphone of Jacques Vendroux, that he was very interested in cars when he started to earn money on the professional circuit. "At 18, my license! I have to win matches to pay for the f***** of car! That I take my small studio rue Poussin, but then there was the duplex, and then the car, the Autobianchi Abarth, with the aluminum rims, the car radio, "he lists.

The young Yannick Noah then wins more and more matches abroad, and at the same time, more and more money. Desires in terms of cars are soaring: "I wanted the little BMW, but now I had enough to buy the big BMW! I take the A6 33, the A6 35 Turbo, and it's not enough, "says the former world number 3, who evokes the brand of car he absolutely needed: the Ferrari. "I'm 20 years old. The beautiful car is the gonzesses vacuum cleaner!"

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The atypical purchase of a red Ferrari

A motivation at the time as great as shining in front of his loved ones: "Of course, I played a lot for mom and dad to watch, for the little one to look at me ... I played because I wanted when I have a car, the girls look at me."

The young tennis player then goes to Bayonne to play a tournament, and passes in front of a garage that sells a second-hand red Ferrari Targa, which cost at the time 16,000 euros (Yannick Noah evokes an amount in euros, Editor's note), a sum that "was not won at the France championships", recalls the former champion. To obtain it, he negotiates with the mechanic a payment by draft: "He tells me 'you give me 500 euros for so long, and you have the car'. I tell him 'ok, but only if I win', 'I lend it to you if you want'," the salesman replied.

"I win the semi-final and I go back to the hotel with the car, and the next day, (Thierry) Tulasne (former French tennis player, editor's note), it was out of the question that he wins the match so I massacred him 'Tutu', which I love," smiled Yannick Noah, who then leaves with the vehicle of his dreams. "I did Bayonne-Paris to be able to go to a direct club," he says. After an Aston Martin, and "other cars", Yannick Noah admits that he then moved on "to something else". The love of tennis has endured, probably forever.