When Yannick Noah was appointed France’s Davis Cup captain for a third time two years ago, he said he had a “clear plan.”
Noah put it into practice, and on Sunday he helped bring the Davis Cup trophy to France for the first time in 16 years.
Noah, a charismatic figure in France who won the French Open in 1983 and later became a successful singer, led the country to its 10th title in the team event with a 3-2 win over Belgium in the final.
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“Over the past 16 years, everybody got used to defeat,” Noah said. “I had never felt that before, and it destroyed me. I fully realized it during the semifinals. It was tough.”
France had a relatively easy path to the title this year. Noah’s predecessor Arnaud Clement, in contrast, had to deal with the likes of Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka in France’s previous final against Switzerland in 2014.
In victories over Japan, Britain and Serbia this year, Noah’s players benefited from the absences of Kei Nishikori, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. And in the final, apart from David Goffin, Belgium’s players were not up to the task.
Lucas Pouille’s lopsided 6-3, 6-1, 6-0 win over Steve Darcis in the second reverse singles gave France its 10th Davis Cup title, ending a run of three losses in finals.
France joined Britain in third place on the list for the most Davis Cup titles, behind the United States (32) and Australia (28).
France had won its last title in 2001, and lost in finals in 2002, 2010 and 2014.