France's Noah: Doping Expose or a Dope? Nadal Says Dope
By Nick Georgandis
(November 20, 2011) France's Yannick Noah, the 1983 Wimbledon winner, has remained strongly in the public eye long past his playing days because of his music career and his charitable work.
Now 51, Noah is back in the spotlight following his interview Saturday in which he theorized that the success of Spain's contingency on the ATP tour is due to doping.
Noah knows more than a little something about drugs, having admitted to using marijuana himself before taking the court in 1981. In the time since, he has said that amphetamines are a top problem in the game, since they can be used as performance enhancers.
Noah told French newspaper Le Monde that players from his native France can't compete with the Spanish because the French have more strict testing.
"How can a country dominate (the) sport from one day to the next?" Noah asked in the interview. "Had they discovered avant-garde training techniques and methods that no one else imagined?"
Spain currently has 13 players ranked in the Top 100, including six in the top 30. Spain's population is a little more than 46 million. By contrast, Noah's homeland of France has 11 players ranked in the Top 100 and four in the Top 30 with a population of 65 million.
Ironically, Noah's solution isn't that Spain should have more stringent testing, but that France should loosen up.
"If you don't have the magic potion, it's difficult to win,'' he said.
He said the buzz in sports circles was that the only way to win was to stay one step ahead of the capabilities of the anti-doping tests.
"We're not being treated in the same way as the majority of our adversaries from other countries,'' he said. "The best attitude to adopt is to accept doping. And then everyone will have the magic potion.''
Noah might know a thing or two about doping, but that comment makes him look like an expert on being a dope.
Anyone in the position of celebrity should have enough common sense to avoid making comments like these in public, particularly when they are a role model for children who would like to grow up to be professional athletes.
France's Minister for Sports, David Douillet, was quick to strike out against Noah's comments.
"What are we saying in reality when we want to institutionalize doping? We imagine that our children will die at 40 or that 12-year-old kids will take pills in the locker room, that's what that means,'' Douillet said on France 2 television.
Noah did not elaborate on what sort of doping the Spaniards are supposedly involved in, but of the 26 more famous cases of doping in the sport's modern history - three involve Spaniards, albeit two of them women.
At the ATP-World Tour Finals, Rafael Nadal made comments about Noah's accusations, "What's can I say? That's going to be difficult to explain what I feel in English. This guy deserve not write anymore in the newspaper, you know. What he said is completely stupid and he knows better than nobody. Say that today is a totally stupid thing because you know how many anti doping controls we are having during all the season year by year. So, in my opinion, his article, what he writed, was from a kid. And when one kid say something, is not painful for us. So that's what I feel. I don't know how to say in English, but especially I think that's worst for French, for France. Is worst for his country than for our country, in my opinion, because the image of the country when one guy, important guy like him, say that, is terrible."