Hold the Gluten: Djokovic Dominating Australian Open

Novak Djokovic continues gluten-free diet and march toward fifth Aussie title


No. 1 ATP-ranked player Novak Djokovic continues to dominate the 2015 Australian Open. And he gives some of the credit to his new diet.

Although Djokovic has been the No. 1 player for a total of 131 weeks, his true success can be traced back to 2010 when he bottomed out at the Australian Open. Djokovic was a top-level player on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) circuit but was never able to sustain the same level of energy from one match to the next.

Djokovic always seemed to be dealing with a physical ailment during his matches. In 2008, tennis player Andy Roddick joked about Djokovic: “Two injured ankles, hip … knee … cramps, bird flu, anthrax, SARS, common cough and cold,” according to the Daily Mail.Roddick was kidding, but Djokovic said the pain he was experiencing was real and not only affecting his physical health, but his mental well-being as well.

Djokovic had experienced some good wins during his 2010 Australian Open, until he faced Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, after going up 2-1 sets, Djokovic literally left the court to vomit, coming back to finish the match but losing both energy and the match.

As the announcers dismissed his loss as another bout of asthma or not being physically fit enough to play five sets of tennis, Serbian doctor Igor Cetojevic knew better.

Dr. Cetojevic provided Djokovic with diet guidelines, which ultimately resulted in him adopting a gluten-free diet. This change in diet is not for everyone, but Djokovic has seen major changes in his health — and his tennis success.

He is so convinced of this diet change that he has written a book, Serve to Win: The 14-day Gluten-Free Plan For Physical And Mental Excellence. As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding, or in his case, the number of ATP titles he has won since adjusting his diet.

A gluten-free diet is recommended for people dealing with celiac disease, but many people have adopted a version of this diet to combat allergies, headaches, bloating or just a general feeling of fatigue — although the diet hasn’t been proven to help with these issues in people who do not have celiac disease.

Before making any radical changes to your diet, consult your doctor or registered dietitian to determine the best diet for your health needs.