On the occasion of this new edition of the French Grand Slam tournament, we look back on the beginnings of the last French winner, Yannick Noah, trained in Nice (Alpes-Maritimes).
While arriving straight from Cameroon to fully embark on his sports career as a tennis player, Yannick Noah, the last French to have won the Roland Garros tournament in 1983, joined the national sports study sector in Nice ( Alpes-Maritimes) in the 1970s.
The Nice Lawn Tennis Club (LTC), which at the time welcomed this generation of promising players including Henri Leconte and Gilles Moretton, has not forgotten this shy young player who arrived on the Côte d’Azur. His racket is even on display there.
“It was an exceptional generation,” explains Philippe Weiss, consultant to Nice LTC, “there was a very positive emulation between all these promising players. “
This arrival in Nice is a sign of uprooting for Yannick Noah, then a teenager. He quickly maintains a strong link with the Nice families who surround the legendary club which celebrated its 130th anniversary in 2020.
“Yannick, if he is passing through Nice, he is bound to come to see us at LTC”, continues Philippe Weiss, who takes out his phone to illustrate his point.
During the week of our visit, the advisor was preparing the birthday of the club’s honorary president, Jacques Rivoire, who turned 90 on May 19, 2021. Spontaneously, several former players sent videos in his honor. Yannick Noah is one of them: we see him in Cameroon wishing “uncle Jacques” the best. “
For Philippe Weiss, Nice LTC is a club conducive to growth and performance. Far from the academies which have developed a lot in recent years on the French Riviera (Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Biot, All in Academy in Villeneuve-Loubet, etc.), the Nice club has retained its family spirit.
It is located just below the imperial park high school which still has a sports study program, now only regional. “Usually the study sports sections are separate with their own equipment. Here, it’s within the club itself. “It was in this high school that Yannick Noah studied and was housed in boarding school.
The Nice LTC is a municipal structure, “its primary vocation is to make the people of Nice play”. For Philippe Weiss, it is this cohabitation of leisure and performance that makes this structure so rich.
So when Yannick Noah won Roland Garros in 1983, “it was the club’s kid who won the tournament.” He who “built himself in tennis and humanely here” is the pride of the members and of those who knew him.
His trainer was Patrice Beust at the time. He could see that young Noah was working harder than the rest. “He really had his sporting project in mind,” specifies Philippe Weiss.
Today the club no longer hosts the national sport study and has lost its last major tournament, recovered by Lyon with its Open park. However, he continues to train young players to a good level and intends to go further.
An “Op Team” unit (Op for “optimization”) was launched in September 2020. The objective is to have around ten residents for whom tailor-made work will be carried out with a teaching team led by Didier Frantz, “of the same generation as Yannick Noah”.
The club’s first team includes Alizé Cornet and Fiona Ferro, the two players from Nice. But also Mark Lajal, an Estonian selected this year for the Roland Garros junior tournament.
In the meantime, other current top players spend from time to time training on the clay courts of LTC. The grounds are indeed coveted because they are particularly well maintained: “It is one of the few clubs to still have several field men dedicated to their maintenance. “Here reigns a spirit of” beautiful sport “and its French traditions, clay in the first place.
Nice LTC is keeping its splendor, being the club of Suzanne Lenglen, Serena Williams at the time. The photos of the player are even more numerous than those of Yannick Noah within the club. The champion even had her villa just across the street, on the street that now bears her name and is the club’s address. actu.pub.dfpTargeting.semantique = [“Roland”, “Garros”, “sport”, “tennis”, “tour”, “Tennis”, “families”, “restaurant”, “videos”, “tu Ã9 “,” habitat “,” child “,” foot “,” naked “];
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