Vegan Athlete: Novak Djokovic
What Does the Tennis World Number-1 Eat To Be No-1
“I switched to an entirely vegan diet in 2004 for personal ethical reasons and was immediately surprised at how great I felt when training and competing. I recover faster from workouts and have more energy than I did before. For me, it is a simple, life-long decision. Not only do I feel physically better than ever, but I also have the satisfaction of knowing that I am not directly contributing to the industries that are so detrimental to animals, the environment and the people involved.” _____________________________________________________ Mac Danzig, Professional UFC Fighter
Many world-class athletes have switched to a vegan/ plant-based diet in the past couple of decades. And the number is increasing at an accelerated rate in recent times. Seeing improvements and a faster recovery in their fellow athletes, many of their colleagues are also switching. And many top-notch athletes in their game like Lewis Hamilton, Virat Kohli, Scott Jurek, Patrik etc are on a strictly plant-based diet.
Tennis world number 1, Novak Djokovic is also another such athlete. Novak is the best in Tennis in the world right now, and he attributes his fitness and athletic performance to a largely vegan diet.
Novak comes from Serbia. So you can imagine how hard it must have been for him, since Serbian diet revolves around red meat.
Most Tennis lovers must be knowing about Novak but for our readers who don’t have a deep interest in Tennis, let’s take a glance at his achievements.
Novak Djokovic: The Tennis Sensation
Novak Djokovic is a Serbian tennis player and first Serbian player to reach world number 1 ranking. He is also the first Serbian to win a Grand Slam singles title. He is among the current big three which also contains Roger Federer and Rafale Nadal.
Some of his key achievements are the following:
- He has won a total of 17 Grand slams. Third highest in the history of male players.
- He has held number 1 title for more than 276 weeks now.
- He has won a record eight Australian Open titles, five Wimbledon titles, three US Open titles, and one French Open title.
- He is the first and only male player yet who has won all nine of the Masters 1000 tournaments.
- He has become the eighth player in history to achieve the Career Grand Slam (winning all four grand slams).
- He has won the prestigious Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsman of the Year Award, four times.
- He has won 12 consecutive finals in ATP Masters.
- He holds the record of winning all four Major titles on 3 different surfaces at once.
- He also holds the record of 15 straight finals reached in a season in 2015.
The list is pretty long but let’s just settle here because it’s enough to prove that he is one hell of a sports person. Pretty damn fit, fast and strong and that’s why he has been so consistent with his performance.
In many interviews, Novak has attributed his fitness and performance to a plant-based diet.
A few years ago, Djokovic experienced that something was wrong with his health when he felt extremely sick during a game. He was experiencing respiratory problems, dizziness, and was taking longer to recover. He eventually realised that the problem was his way of eating.
He went gluten-free in 2010 and had a highly successful season in 2011. He shifted to the plant-based diet eventually and has been the most consistent player in Tennis ever since.
In his interview with Forbes, Novak said,
“My diet hasn’t just changed my game, it’s changed my life — my wellbeing. And if I feel better, that obviously transfers to my professional life. Eating vegan makes me more aware of my body on the court… more alert. I removed toxins from my body, and with them went all the inflammation and other things that were messing with my energy levels. As an athlete, the most important thing is to keep your energy levels consistent — especially as a tennis player, where you’re alone on the court for a best of five matches. When playing for 3, 4, 5 hours straight, you need the right fuel… and for me, the right fuel is plant-based.”
He has recently opened his own vegan restaurant in Monte Carlo, called Eqvita. Upon being inquired, why he opened a restaurant he said, “Food is my passion. Of all the things I’ve experienced in life, food has changed me the most. I wanted to share that impact with the world.”
Novak occasionally eats fish, but other than that it’s all plant-based, organic living foods. He also goes on to say, “I have found this (plant-based) to be the lifestyle that gives me the most success on and off the court.
Novak doesn’t like being referred to as ‘vegan,’ but he is proud of his plant-based diet. Djokovic also acknowledges the fact that eating plant-based is good for animals and the planet.
He quoted, “It is about how this diet affects the world, not just personal health, but also sustainability, ecology, animals.”
And hence we need to make choices which are good for us, the planet and our ecosystem. And the best way to make the biggest impact is by choosing the right food to eat.
The right food for our health, fitness, wellbeing, our planet and our fellow other creatures on earth with whom we share this beautiful planet.
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