Novak Djokovic – Gluten Motivation

“Since the age of thirteen I’d felt constantly stuffy, especially at night. I would wake up groggy, and it would take me a long time to get going. I was always tired. I felt bloated, even when I was training three times a day. I had allergies, and on days when it was humid or the flowers were in full bloom, they would be worse. Yet what was happening to me didn’t make sense. Asthma strikes as soon as you start to exercise; it doesn’t come on three hours into a match. And my problem couldn’t be conditioning. I worked as hard as anyone on the circuit. Yet in the big matches, against the best players, I would hold my own through the first few sets, then collapse. But I wasn’t a hypochondriac, or an asthmatic, or an athlete who just folded when the matches got tough.” Novak Djokovic

“Every time I took a big step toward my dream I felt as though a rope were around my torso pulling me back,” Novak explains. “Physically I couldn’t compete. Mentally I didn’t feel I belonged on the same court as the best players in the game”.

“There was something about me that was broken, unhealthy, unfit. Some called it allergies, some called it asthma, some just called it being out of shape but no matter what we called it no one knew how to fix it.” Novak Djokovic

In July 2010, before the Davis Cup clash away at Croatia, Djokovic made another addition to his team – nutritionist Igor Četojević who additionally focuses on Chinese medicine and does acupuncture. He discovered the tennis player suffers from gluten intolerance and cannot eat gluten, purging it from his diet. It appeared to have worked as Djokovic began feeling stronger, quicker, and much more fit. After Djokovic’s Wimbledon win in July 2011, Četojević left the team (

Cetojevic suggested that Djokovic eliminate gluten from his diet. After commissioning some blood work, he recommended that Djokovic also eliminate dairy products. The program was hard to fathom—his parents owned a pizza parlor!—but Djokovic was desperate enough to try it, and, once he did, he experienced it as a complete rebirth. As he recalls in “Serve to Win” (subtitle: “The 14-Day Gluten-Free Plan for Physical and Mental Excellence”).

“I was a man who was eating the wrong way” Novak Djokovic

“It wasn’t a new racquet, a new workout, a new coach, or even a new serve that helped me lose weight, find mental focus, and enjoy the best health of my life. It was a new diet,” says Djokovic in his new book, “Serve to Win: The 14-Day Gluten-Free Plan for Physical and Mental Excellence.” After gaining a reputation of being unpredictable, prone to sickness and even out of shape — something that commentators often blamed on asthma — Djokovic went gluten-free in 2010. The next year, he won 10 tennis titles, three Grand Slam events and 43 consecutive matches. He’s now ranked No. 1 in the world by the Association of Tennis Professionals. “My life had changed because I had begun to eat the right foods for my body, in the way that my body demanded,” he writes.

“My life has changed because I now eat the right foods for my body. I feel fresher, more alert and more energetic than I have in my life. You certainly don’t have to be a tennis pro to make the changes I did to improve your body, your health and outlook on life.”

“Mentally, you’ll be fresh, you’ll be happier, you’ll be calmer,» said Djokovic. Physically, you’ll be stronger, faster, more dynamic, your muscles will work better. That’s what I feel.»

“I was lighter, quicker, clearer in mind and spirit. . . . I could tell the moment I woke up each morning that I was different than I had been, maybe since childhood. I sprang out of bed, ready to tear into the day ahead.” One day, as an experiment, he ate a bagel. He writes, “I felt like I’d spent the night drinking whiskey!”

“The diet changed my life in a really positive way and affected positively my career and my overall feeling on and off the court,» he said. «I particularly wanted to share this kind of food regime and this kind of change that affected my life positively with the people, just present them my own experience”

“Since going on a gluten-free diet, “my allergies abated, my asthma disappeared; my fears and doubts were replaced by confidence. I have not had a serious cold or flu in nearly three years”.

«Thousands of new strains (of wheat) have made it to the human commercial food supply without a single effort at safety testing» Novak Djokovic

«If you can mentally overcome this greed and eat only the food that is good for your metabolism, then you will have the best results, not just in tennis but in life as well» Novak Djokovic