The number one player talked about how he was frustrated with his career in 2007. Ranked third in the world, nothing he tried – including different workouts and nasal surgery – was helping raise his game or treat his respiratory issues which he describes as ‘allergies’ or a ‘mild version of asthma’ which would plague him most seriously when on the court.
Djokovic says it wasn’t until he started working with Dr. Igor Cetojevic, and tweaked his diet – first removing dairy, gluten, and refined sugar – that he felt relief. Over the next few years, he removed all animal products and is now completely plant-based.
Plant-based daily diet
The athlete revealed that upon waking, he drinks warm water with lemon, followed by celery juice. After that, he has a green smoothie packed with algae and different fruits. Djokovic added that he also takes superfood supplements at this point, which he says allow him to have ‘mental clarity’.
He added: “I eat a lot of fruit during the first part of the day and salads. I don’t like to eat any food that would require much energy for digestion, especially during the first part of the day because that’s when I need the most energy for my training.
“So I’m keeping things quite light and would probably have some grains like quinoa, millet, and wild rice. Sweet potato and normal potato, steamed or boiled.”
‘I like it’
Djokovic has spoken about his plant-based diet many times, crediting it for his faster recovery times at a post-match conference during Wimbledon 2019 (which he went on to win, beating Roger Federer in a five-match final).
He also discussed why he doesn’t call himself vegan, saying: “I don’t like the labels, to be honest. I do eat plant-based (food), for quite a few years already,” he said. “But because of the misinterpretations of labels and misuse of labels, I just don’t like that kind of name.
“I do eat plant-based. I think that’s one of the reasons why I recover well. I don’t have allergies that I used to have any more. And I like it.”