Novak Djokovic has been arguably the most dominant tennis player of the last decade.
His rise to the top of the men’s game seemed relatively gradual, being in the top 5 players in the world for a number of years.
Yet, his actual ascension to the world number 1 spot in 2011 came relatively quickly.
Novak went on an unbelievable 41 match winning streak at the beginning of the year, only being stopped by Roger Federer in the French Open semi finals.
The Serbian super star went on to win Wimbledon and the US Open, after claiming the Australian Open earlier in the year.
But, how exactly did Novak go from his consistent number 3 or 4 spot in the world to world number 1 in seemingly such a short space of time?
There’s no doubt that Novak’s physical conditioning, tennis IQ and workout plans were always up to scratch and he has always been known for his incredible movement and flexibility.
But when his own book “Serve to Win” was released, Novak revealed that his diet was actually an instrumental factor in helping him overcome allergies and underlying health conditions.
This, in turn, improved his overall health, fitness, stamina and strength, all of which turned a top talented pro into a world beater.
Of course, the diet of a professional athlete is usually filled with lean protein sources, complex carbohydrates and fibrous, nutritious vegetables.
It will come with no surprise that most professional athletes across many mainstream sports will be eating this sort of food on a daily basis.
However, what sets Djokovic apart from the rest of his fellow professional athletes is his attention to detail when it comes to his diet.
This level of extreme planning, meticulous decision making and nutritional optimisation has led him to the top of the men’s game for over a decade and counting.
So, exactly how did he change his diet and what does he eat now? That’s what we are going to explore!
How Novak Djokovic Changed his Diet
Prior to his change in diet in late 2010, Novak Djokovic had earned a reputation for being a little lackluster when the going got tough.
Far from the steely warrior we see before us today, hitting outrageous winners and going for broke when match points down, Djokovic would sometimes collapse mid match and retire when he was feeling a little below par.
This was a frustration for many tennis fans who were wowed by what Djokovic could do on the court, but left wanting more as he would often not be able to perform at his best for long periods of time.
However, his change in diet saw him become one of the strongest and fittest players on the tour, outlasting all of his opponents.
A major change that Djokovic made was to eliminate gluten from his diet.
After finding out that he was suffering from a gluten intolerance and adjusting his diet accordingly, Djokovic was able to play with more energy and longevity, which has been a key factor in his dominance of the sport.
Switching to a gluten free diet also made him more alert, have greater mental clarity as well as improve his sleep.
What Effect did it Have on His Game ?
Djokovic went from a player that was talented but physically hampered to a player that could withstand almost any adversity thrown his way.
Switching to a gluten free diet effectively transformed Djokovic into a different player.
It is often noted that the margins at the top of any sport are notoriously slim.
When operating at such a high level, even the smallest of gains that a player can make can ultimately determine whether they are a winner or a loser at the end of a tournament.
This is especially true in the world of tennis. With the game being more competitive than ever and the level of professionalism that players commit to, becoming a professional tennis player has become one of the most difficult ways to earn a living through sport.
With this in mind, an incredibly talented and accomplished player like Novak Djokovic making such a monumental change to his diet comes with the added benefit of a big leap in his performance levels.
A player of his calibre suddenly having more energy on the court, more mental sharpness, increased endurance and more dynamic strength, all from cutting out foods that he had major intolerances to, makes his rise to the top of the game no real surprise after all.
Djokovic always liked to take big cuts at the ball and go for his shots.
But he has always been a player that liked to rely on his physical fitness, stamina and flexibility to win his points whilst coming up with unbelievable winners from outrageous positions on the court.
Therefore, the change in diet effectively helped Djokovic upgrade his game, as he was able to make better decisions, become rock solid mentally in the most high pressure situations and actually sustain his high level of play across 5 gruelling sets of tennis.
This transformed Djokovic from a shot making counter puncher into a confident, consistent baseliner that could take control of the points and over power his opponents with relative ease.
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