Every SI Story ... Every SI Photo ... Ever SI.COM/VAULT

EXCERPT | June 13, 1983

Glory of France

Local hero Yannick Noah won the French Open

The 6'4" Noah—then widely regarded as the game's finest athlete—lost only one set during the French Open fortnight en route to becoming the last Frenchman to win at Roland Garros. Curry Kirkpatrick reported for SI.

His likeness is spread across magazine covers, posters and the walls of Parisian girls' boudoirs. He attends lectures on philosophy at the Sorbonne; plays guitar in a reggae band; dates a model from Boulder, Colo.; shares a TV variety-show stage with actress Annie Girardot; and peers off the box of a popular biscuit. The only product Yannick Noah, he of the demidreadlocks, may be incapable of selling in the Republic of France is hair spray. And now he's the first Frenchman in nearly four decades to win the Championnats Internationaux de France. Vive le Cameroun.

It was 11 long summers ago that the frightened little black child left home and family in the tiny village of Yaoundé, Cameroon, in central Africa to come to Paris to learn tennis. He undoubtedly hadn't heard of Rastafarian 'dos back then. But on Sunday, on the sweltering terre battue of Stade Roland Garros, a gloriously skilled and Rasta-coiffed Noah, now 23, finally fulfilled his dream with a 6--2, 7--5, 7--6 victory over the young Swedish defending champion, Mats Wilander. When Noah received his trophy from the last native titlist, Marcel Bernard, who won in 1946, it was obvious how much French tennis had evolved. Bernard is almost bald.

Noah—the father of Chicago Bulls big man Joakim Noah—retired in 1996. The '83 French Open was his only appearance in a Grand Slam final.

SI.COM | Breaking News | Real-time Scores | Daily Analysis

NFL

MLB

NBA

NHL

Tennis

SI Videos

It's My Life

This week SI.com takes its video coverage away from the field for a glimpse into a day in the life of Yankees centerfielder Curtis Granderson. Watch as the cameras follow Granderson (above) through the streets of New York City, where he explains, among other things, why shopping at Walmart isn't out of the ordinary for a major leaguer and how giving back to the community is a part of his job. You can also check out SI Video for the latest news and analysis from SI writers in the Inside Report with Maggie Gray and watch some 70 videos a week, including NHL playoff highlights and interviews from The Dan Patrick Show.

Featured Videos

Andre Ethier's injury scares the Dodgers

Floyd Landis controversy heats up

Rafael Nadal returns to Roland Garros

Featured Stories

END OF AN ERA?

By Tom Verducci

Derek Jeter is the last of the AL's power-hitting shortstops

BAD FISH

By Ross Tucker

Blame Bill Parcells for the Dolphins' risky Brandon Marshall trade

HEAD OF THE CLASS

By Luke Winn

Terrence Jones spurns Washington and signs with Kentucky

Online Cover Gallery

Feats of Clay

1981

Bjorn Borg won his sixth—and final—French Open championship with a stirring five-set victory over Ivan Lendl.

1984

Martina Navratilova completed a non-calendar Grand Slam with her victory in the French Open final.

1999

Andre Agassi became only the fifth man to win all four Grand Slam events in a career with his victory at Roland Garros.

TUNE IN TO THE FRENCH OPEN

Ted Robinson, John McEnroe and Mary Carillo have the call from Roland Garros for this weekend's third round of the French Open (noon EDT on Saturday and Sunday). For video of the 1983 French Open, go to SI.com/vault

PHOTO

Photograph by STEVE POWELL/GETTY IMAGES

HAIR FRANCE With the colors of Cameroon on his wristband, Noah rolled over Wilander in straight sets.

PHOTO

RUSS ADAMS

PHOTO

STEVE POWELL/GETTY IMAGES

PHOTO

MARY SCHILPP/CLP

TWO PHOTOS

CHUCK SOLOMON (GRANDERSON, ETHIER)

PHOTO

LIAM FOLEY/ICON SMI (JONES)

PHOTO

JOEL AUERBACH/GETTY IMAGES (MARSHALL)

PHOTO

SIMON BRUTY (JETER)

PHOTO

KIM MORRIS/ZUMA PRESS (LANDIS)

PHOTO

BOB MARTIN (NADAL)

PHOTO