Novak Djokovic has Coeliac Disease, a condition that means he is unable to tolerate the gluten that is found in grains such as wheat and barley. Being a young, physically fit elite athlete Djokovic really started to see a difference in his performance after working with a nutritionist who advised him to avoid foods made with rye, wheat and barley. By cutting out these processed carbohydrates and avoiding the foods that he suffered allergies with, Djokovic really began to smash his way through to the top rankings. At one stage during 2011 he was riding a 39-match winning streak, and defeated the fierce Rafa Nadal a total of four times. But as an athlete at the peak of his prime, did this gluten free way of eating really have so much of a physical effect on Djokovic’s performance, even though the same couldn’t be said for the 600,000 Britons who are likely to follow it too?
Nutrition experts and dieticians across the world have been eager to share their thoughts and observations about just how successful the Djokovic diet has been to his performance, but they are almost all in agreement that the change in his eating has probably had more of a mental effect on his game than a physical one. My believing in the cause of a disorder, and then making changes to fix and remove the cause, the resulting effects can only be positive ones. It’s also easy to see that any beneficial change in diet, such as cutting out pizzas, pastas, bread and chocolate, will play a big factor in how well the body is able to function, especially to athletes and elite tennis players like Novak Djokovic.
Whether or not the gluten-free Djokovic diet has had a physical or mental effect on the player, what it didn’t do was turn him into a fantastic tennis pro. The man was already world number 3 and a Grand Slam champion before making these changes, but this healthy way of living and eating ha only made him into an even greater player.