For the past several weeks, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic has used his Instagram platform to let fans in on real-time chats with the likes of Maria Sharapova and Andy Murray. He’s also gone live in a series of discussions with Chervin Jafarieh, who professes to apply “the scientific method to create alchemy.” Their latest conversation poses the question on just how far personal beliefs should be pushed before crossing over from provocative to perilous.
Djokovic has long practiced mediation, and it’s clear that he has an extraordinary ability to maintain an unbreakable mindset when dealing with pressure. But in his latest dialogue with Jafarieh, the two took the power of mentality to an extreme, promoting the belief that having the proper connection when drinking water, of any quality, can alter its molecular composition.
Though Djokovic first stated, “This is something that is not linked to any form of official way of presenting nutrition and how you should eat and drink,” what followed raised eyebrows.
“I know some people that, through energetical transformation, through the power of prayer, through the power of gratitude, they managed to turn the most toxic food, or maybe most polluted water into the most healing water, because water reacts. Scientists have proven that in experiment, that molecules in the water react to our emotions to what has been said,” Djokovic said.
“I truly believe that we should continuously every single day remind ourselves when we sit, that we sit without cameras, without phones, without watching things and stuff. Or even worse, having nervous [and] conflicting discussions at the table with your close ones during your meal.”
To be clear, Djokovic himself was the one who first introduced this stuff about water changing from emotions into the conversation on his Instagram, saying that mindfulness can make unhealthy food more nutritious, and that dinner table arguments can make good less nutritious. pic.twitter.com/LyJbJTvb9W— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 7, 2020
Like Djokovic, renowned commentator Mary Carillo has never backed down from her convictions. When Carillo heard what the 17-time major champion shared, she immediately pointed to a community strongly affected by unsafe water.
“The people of Flint, Michigan would love to hear that news,” Carillo said Thursday on Tennis Channel Live.
“It’s not a surprise Novak speaks in these ways. This I find particularly dangerous. He’s not the kind of guy whose favorite music changes in every room he moves in... I’m very disturbed that Djokovic and that other guy are saying you can change toxic water to drinking water.”
Djokovic has a documented history of buying into a holistic approach, or self-healing. This was evident when, for years, he put off surgery on his right elbow until hitting a crossroads in early 2018. At Wimbledon last year, when he saved two championship points to prevail in a historic and decisive tiebreaker over Roger Federer for the title, Djokovic spoke about his capacity for training his brain to register what he needs to hear.
“When the crowd is chanting ‘Roger’ I hear ‘Novak’,” he said after.
While examples like the above have worked for the Serbian, they are personal to his story. For Jon Wertheim, what Djokovic endorsed alongside someone who can perhaps best be described as a real estate broker-turned product developer without a medical license, is an unsafe practice.
“At a time of coronavirus, when false stories and conspiracy theories, bleach consumption and UV rays are being legitimized, I think he really needs to be careful,” Werthiem said on Tennis Channel Live. “There are consequences from this. I was disappointed to see that. There’s a real responsibility that comes from being No. 1 and part of that comes with respecting science and objective truth.”
Djokovic, who was 18-0 when the tennis season was suspended, was also heavily involved with spearheading the Player Relief Program. On Tuesday, the ATP, WTA, controllers of the four majors and ITF announced a plan to support 800 players with a $6 million fund to start.