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Novak Djokovic: Gluten-free Glory at U.S. Open

Celiac.com 09/22/2011 - Serbian Tennis star Novak Djokovic has gone on a major victory streak since going gluten-free late last year, winning 62 matches, including the Wimbledon championship, and losing just two in 2011.

Most recently, Djokovic earned his first-ever U.S. Open tennis championship with a grueling  6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-1 victory over Rafael Nadal that took 4 hours and 10 minutes to complete.

Djokovic playing at this year's U.S. Open. Photo: CC-angela n.Djokovic, who had been hovering near the top of the men's world tennis rankings for several years, credits his most recent break through to a gluten-free diet. Djokovic adopted the gluten-free diet after testing by his nutritionist showed him to be gluten intolerant.

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Because Djokovic cannot process the carbohydrates that were his most common fuel source, and he was forced to find alternative foods to provide the energy and stamina needed to prevail in long matches.

With just two losses this year coming to Roger Federer in the Semifinals of the French Open, and to Andy Murray in the finals in Cincinnati, Djokovic is having the best year of his career. He credits this change to his gluten-free diet.

"I have lost some weight but it's only helped me because my movement is much sharper now and I feel great physically," said an energized Djokovic, who has now beaten Rafael Nadal in five finals this year.

This shows that, while it is possible for people with gluten intolerance to excel in life, even while not getting proper nutrition, getting diagnosed and adopting a gluten-free diet can have clear and obvious benefits, and can, in some cases be the crucial difference in success.

The gluten-free community should keep their eyes on Novak Djokovic to see how a focused gluten-free diet can make a major difference for people who are gluten intolerant.

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