Yannick Noah’s ordinary battles
Voted most popular celebrity in France eight years running, long - term local resident and all-round good guy – Yannick Noah completes a smash European tour shortly in Geneva and Lyon.
The former French tennis star is as famous today for his music and charity work as his time on court. The Noah sound is eclectic, dubbed Afro-reggae in the early days, and now including Latin American rhythms, pop and rock; but it’s his stage presence that fans love. And the latest tour and album - Combats Ordinaires - shows no let-up in his success or energy.
Critics say a new generation is responding to Noah’s music; fans that weren’t even born when the flamboyant star, 54, won the French Open title in 1983. In the 1990s he was also successful – and hugely popular – as the relaxed, dreadlocked captain of winning Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams. But even that’s a long time ago... so it’s no wonder that Noah’s now seen more of a champion of the charity world than the tennis circuit.
The son of a Cameroon national footballer and a French basketball champion mother, Noah was brought up in Africa after his father’s career in northern France was cut short by injury. Spotted by tennis scouts from Nice at the age of 11, Noah left his family to train in Europe. Recalling this lonely period in his life, Noah has since claimed that it helps him identify with children struggling with anxiety and hardship. Today his charity, les Enfants de la Terre (which Noah runs with his mother) is active in both France and Cameroon
Having battled with the French fiscal authorities in the past Noah now splits his time between Paris and Switzerland. And rumour has it that he may well be spending more time at home in Montreux as French tax hikes continue to hit the super-rich.
- Yannick Noah plays:
- Geneva Arena - November 27
- La Halle Lyon – December 16 and 17