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Yannick Noah named captain of the French wheelchair tennis team

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Yannick Noah named captain of the French wheelchair tennis team

Yannick Noah has been named captain of the French men’s wheelchair tennis team for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games (August 28 to September 8), the French Tennis Federation (FFT) announced Thursday, December 14.

“Our French Paralympic team will be under the leadership of a captain called Yannick Noah. (…) He will come and train our teams. Yannick will take on this challenge, because he is a man of challenges, he has demonstrated it, he is a leader of men”announced Gilles Moretton, president of the FFT, during a press conference at Roland-Garros.

“A man of challenges”, now 63 years old, who managed to overcome them one by one during his brilliant career in tennis. Firstly when he was a player, with his unforgettable coronation at Roland-Garros in 1983, which remains the last victory of a French player in a Grand Slam.

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Then when he took on the role of captain of the French men’s and women’s teams, transmitting a rage to win which has worked miracles several times, to the point of inheriting the image of a wizard of winning. You only had to see the rebirth of Henri Leconte and the trance of Guy Forget in 1991 against the Americans Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, to have proof of this unique know-how which led to the coronation in the Davis Cup, trophy which had not been lifted by the Blues for fifty-nine years.

Third David Cup in 2017

Noah did it again in 1996, with another generation, that of Cédric Pioline, Guillaume Raoux, Arnaud Boetsch, but again with Guy Forget, to win the event once again in Sweden. Between two tubes, including Saga Africa who made his glory on the French music scene, he conveys an unusurped image of a winner, which fascinates even in football. PSG used his services as a mental trainer that same year and… won the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

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The following year, Noah took the reins of the French women’s tennis team, which he led to triumph in the Fed Cup (now Billie Jean King Cup), the first won by France, with Mary Pierce, Sandrine Testud and Nathalie Tauziat among others.

After a break of several years, he returns to service in this role of captain which sticks to his skin, at the helm of the men’s and women’s teams, with a third Davis Cup gleaned in 2017, beating Belgium in the final.

The new challenge he is about to take on could add a few gold letters (Paralympic) to his prestigious record during the Games, which will take place from August 28 to September 8.

“The idea of ​​being captain came from Stéphane Houdet [champion en double aux Jeux paralympiques de 2008 à Pékin, 2016 à Rio et 2021 à Tokyo, ainsi que médaillé d’argent en simple en 2012 à Londres] who called me before the Tokyo Olympicsexplains Noah in the FFT press release published Thursday. He told me “you played individually, you won the Davis Cup, the Fed Cup but you’re not a real crazy person because you never came with us”. (…) I said to myself what a great idea! I’m super excited. It’s an extraordinary human adventure. If some, like Stéphane Houdet, already have a good track record, others have plenty of room for improvement. »

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“French tennis is doing well”, according to its president

“The good news is that French tennis is doing well, it is in good health, and we have great ambitions for the future,” welcomed Gilles Moretton, the president of the French Tennis Federation (FFT), Thursday December 14, at Roland-Garros, during a press conference to take stock of 2023. The Porte d’Auteuil tournament achieved this year a record turnover of 329 million euros for the FFT, whose overall budget amounts to 406 million euros.

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Another supporting figure: the milestone of one million licensees has just been crossed, including those of beach tennis but also padel, which is growing rapidly (45,000 licensees since September). From January, another racket sport will be integrated into the statutes of the FFT: pickleball, a sport which combines elements of tennis, padel, badminton and table tennis.

The sporting record itself is a little less rosy: “After experiencing a small gap behind the generation of “musketeers” [Tsonga, Gasquet, Monfils et Simon], we have a generation coming but there is still a lot of work to do,” conceded Gilles Moretton, also recognizing a “delay in women’s tennis”.

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The World with AFP

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