posted on May 27, 2007 03:00
Now that the Champions League final has closed the season, and with no tournament this summer, we football addicts must depend on the Tour de France, Kerry v Cork in the Munster Final, British Open golf and so forth, to keep us going until normal life resumes in mid-August.
The French Open tennis championship begins today on the distinctive red clay courts of Roland Garros in Paris. Fans here will no doubt hope for Amelie Mauresmo to provide a rare home victory.
One of those previous French winners, 1983 men's winner Yannick Noah, has since become one of France's biggest pop stars. After retiring from tennis he started performing rock songs and touring small provincial venues, often to mixed receptions of curiosity and derision.
He subsequently adopted a more successful sound of light reggae-pop, and his second career was born. Noah now headlines summer festivals and fills venues around the country, and is arguably more famous now as a pop star than as a tennis star (he also advertises a brand of underpants). His son Joachim, playing college basketball in the USA, is on the way to becoming a huge sports star too.
Born in Cameroon of an African father and white French mother, Noah sings mainly about social issues like racial harmony - though lyrically he tends towards self-help-book feelgood inspiration rather than angry polemic.
Still, he was a vocal supporter of Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal in the recent election and, along with other high-profile stars like footballer Lilian Thuram, he publicly criticised conservative candidate (and eventual winner) Nicolas Sarkozy's heavy-handed approach to immigration policy.
His biggest hit so far has been his catchy 2005 single 'Métisse', about taking pride in his mixed-race identity, which also features France's sharpest rapper, Disiz La Peste. Watch the video below: