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  • Jefferson Adams

    Gluten-free Novak Djokovic Wins Record Third Straight Australian Open

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 02/14/2013 - Gluten-free tennis sensation Novak Djokovic's recent five set victory over Andy Murray at Melbourne Park makes him the first man in the 45-year Open era to win three consecutive Australian Opens.

    Photo of Novak Djokovic serving at the French Open: CC-y.caradecSince going gluten-free in 2010, after tests indicated that he suffered from gluten-intolerance, the 25-year-old Djokovic is undefeated at the Australian Open, and virtually unstoppable on the court.



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    Following a high-protein, gluten-free diet, Djokovic now avoids most starches, including his past favorites, pizza and pasta. The Serbian tennis star credits the gluten-free diet with sharp improvements to his tennis and his health.

    “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."

    At first, the already slim 6-foot-2 Djokovic lost 10 pounds after cutting gluten out of his diet, but insists it has only helped his game.

    "I have lost some weight but it's only helped me, because my movement is much sharper now and I feel great physically," said Novak, whose weight now hovers at 176 pounds. “I am very skinny. [but] I am fast and very powerful on the court, so this is what matters.”

    When he's not in training, Djokovic has been known to backslide and eat some of his old favorites, including pizza and pasta, a pattern familiar to many folks seeking to follow a gluten-free diet, especially those who don't suffer immediate symptoms.

    However, he says that following a gluten-free diet brings out his best.

    "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," he says.

    Djokovic has now won a total of four Australian Open trophies: In 2008, and then 2011, 2012 and 2013.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.


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