Saturday May 14, 2022, Yannick Noah gave an interview to the Journal du Dimanche. Nearly forty years after his victory at Roland-Garos, the former tennis player has broken the silence about his depression.
He wants to lift the veil on the mental health of athletes… On June 5, 1983, Yannick Noah won the Grail by winning the Roland-Garos tournament. If the tennis player was happy to achieve his goal, he had sunk into a big depression a few weeks later. The day before a press conference, the athlete had confided to a journalist friend of his ill-being. While the next day, he had repeated everything, Yannick Noah had appeared in tears in the media. Images that unfortunately did “dive for real.“In an interview with Sunday newspaperthe star recalled: “My dream had come true quickly. Beyond my expectations, because there are shared emotions, in addition to victory. This love that fell on me was a heavy thing! From one day to the next, it is no longer possible to walk around, to go to the cinema, to the bakery…“
In all transparency, Yannick Noah revealed: “I was not ready at all. That was not what had attracted me to the idea of winning Roland. I told myself that I might have more chicks, more wheat, that’s about all. Glory, but no questions asked.“In order to get better, the athlete then went into exile in New York. Assuring that mental health should be taken more seriously, the former tennis player slipped:”Lots of athletes have had moments of depression. Today, there is a whole accompaniment which makes it not just a question of hitting the ball. Otherwise, you become crazy (…) The mental aspect is not just to win. It’s to hold on, to survive, to manage stress, the expectation of the public, yours, this way of life… And yeah, that thing, I lived it.“
Yannick Noah: “I was the most unhappy”
In December 2019, in an interview with the Belgian site Gaelthe sportsman had revealed about his depression: “In the manuals, we explain how to try to win a match, but when we win, what do we do? Nobody talks about it. I was the unhappiest while all around people thought I was the happiest in the world. A complete shift! So I couldn’t talk about it, no one would have understood. I acted on instinct. I moved to New York and rebuilt myself.“For the website 7out7Yannick Noah had added: “When I was 23 and suddenly found myself in the spotlight, it crushed me. I couldn’t stand up anymore. I was a kid. I went out at night, or very late in the evening, to walk in places where, a fortnight earlier, I could still walk around incognito. All that surge of affection. It’s hard to get so many.“
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