Don’t you think an athlete who reached the heights of his sport before retirement should show an element of responsibility and respect when talking about sport? Yannick Noah’s comments about Spanish athletes are...
Don’t you think an athlete who reached the heights of his sport before retirement should show an element of responsibility and respect when talking about sport? Yannick Noah’s comments about Spanish athletes are the height of irresponsibility and poor judgement. His comments to Le Monde the French newspaper saying that Spanish athletes are on some sort of substance has baffled people and left tennis players from that nation pretty darn angry and rightly so. Let me just say I like Noah, always have. He was a great ambassador for sport; he was a great personality and has done incredible charity work. It’s pretty amazing and amusing to me that the young people in France these days know him more for his music than his glorious tennis, but Yannick unravelled so much good work with what he said. I had never known him to be so controversial with his comments and you sort of question if it’s an element of jealousy in that Spain is winning at so much and neighbouring France is in the “also ran” stakes. Spain holds the World Cup and European Championship in football. Its cyclist Alberto Contador has dominated the Tour de France in recent years. Its basketball team has won a World Championship, two European titles and an Olympic silver medal in the past six years. And then there is the great Rafa Nadal himself whose record stands on its own. Noah questioned how all of a sudden Spain became such a powerhouse of sport and suggested a “magic potion” is likely responsible. “How can a nation dominate sport virtually overnight like this?" commented Noah. Nadal is furious. Here at the ATP World Tour Finals in London I asked him for his thoughts on Noah’s remarks. He said Noah should not be put in the position of being able to write or make such outlandish remarks because they are so damaging. “What's can I say? That's going to be difficult to explain what I feel in English,” said Nadal. 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.” Rafa’s coach and uncle, Toni, told another French newspaper, L’Equipe, that "Noah deserves no respect". He added: “I do not think Noah is a trustworthy person. I hope Rafa will tell him politely what he thinks about this statement.” One person commented in passing: “You gotta wonder what Noah is on then.” Tennis greats have to show respect and responsibility. Many feel they have a right to be outspoken to an extreme degree because of their past reputations but in fact they don’t. If anything they should be showing deference to the athletes of now because they would know what they have gone through to achieve the level the current stars are at. What do you think? And do you think Noah should be apologising or reveal the evidence that would push him into making such rash comments? The great Aretha Franklin sang about “Respect”, Noah should follow.