Yannick Noah: Still a Hit On and off the Court
Yannick Noah achieved worldwide celebrity on the red clay courts of the French Open in 1983. He confirmed his status as a tennis sensation when he defeated Swede Mats Wilander to become the first Frenchman in 37 years to capture the Grand Slam singles title. Noah is widely recognized for his dreadlocks, his on-court acrobatics, and his powerful backhand - which he credits to his mentor, tennis legend Arthur Ashe.
Noah, originally from Cameroon, was discovered at the age of 9 by Ashe. Noah began winning championships as a teenager, eventually teaming with Ashe in 1978 to form the first black doubles team to play at Wimbledon.
Noah ranked in the top 10 tennis players in the world in 1982 - a status he held for six years. He also achieved success as a doubles player, winning the 1984 French Open doubles title with partner Henri Leconte.
In 1991, Noah was named captain of the French Davis Cup team in 1991, leading the team to its first title since 1932. He served again as captain in 1995.
Also in 1991, Noah decided to pursue a music career off the courts. Though his reggae albums are not known outside of France, he recorded two records and had one hit single, "Saga Africa." Noah also founded a charitable organization with his mother, Marie-Claire, called Les Enfants de la Terre, which helps underprivileged children worldwide.
Noah and his wife, British model Heather Stewart-Whyte, divide their time between Paris and Switzerland. When not performing with his band in Paris nightclubs, Noah continues to coach the French Davis Cup team and compete in the over-35 circuit.