Recently, I received this email from a friend: "Yikes. I love Novak Djokovic, but he would be a really annoying boyfriend."
I was taken aback, but just slightly. The reason? That friend passed on a link I'd already seen, to Tom Perrotta's notes for the Wall Street Journal here about the Djoker's diet and exercise regimens.
As it turns out, it's no laughing matter. The man is a fortress of discipline, bending as he does, Gumby-style, on the tennis court and scurrying for so many shots with indefatigable verve—he says, due to his drastic response to strong intolerances to wheat and dairy products, among other changes he's made in recent years. Djokovic accounts for himself, for his ways, in a new book, Serve to Win, due out on August 20. (This is not to be confused with Venus Williams's own tome, 2010's Come to Win.)
Interesting, methinks. I was told as a teen that wheat and dairy were allergies for me—and yet I kept inhaling them, and still do so today, a lover of ice cream, morning cereal, or pancakes with milk, and a carbohydrate-laden bread- and pasta-eating machine ahead of road races. Not Djokovic, oh no. As Perrotta has it, "Start by drinking loads of warm water all day long, as well as shakes made with pea protein concentrate. Avoid dairy and stay away from alcohol during tournaments. Eat lots of avocados, cashew butter and very little sugar. Banish caffeine, other than the occasional energy gel bar before matches. Be sure to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night, meditate, do plenty of yoga and tai chi, take melatonin supplements, hook yourself up to a biofeedback machine that measures your stress level and, when you have a free moment or two, keep a diary. Feel free to unwind with a cup of warm licorice tea."
I may yet give it a go, removing at least wheat and dairy from my diet and seeing if there's a noticeable difference. I don't know that it will be so, but I'm going to start right now—well, tomorrow morning—by taking in gluten-free vanilla Chex cereal. Hold the milk, please.
What do you think of Djokovic's food and drink rules for himself? They obviously have treated him well in the past two-and-a-half years.
Got a thought, a tip, or a point to make? Hit me on Twitter @jonscott9.