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.
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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