What does Novak Djokovic eat and drink during matches?

Find out how World No.1 Novak Djokovic's disciplined diet helps him play at the highest level of men's tennis.

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Novak Djokovic

Although Novak Djokovic burst onto the ATP tour as a prodigious talent, he couldn’t win tournaments consistently. In fact, he even struggled to finish long matches, owing to which he was forced to retire from many matches before the ultimate conclusion.

Djokovic’s struggle with asthma and imbalanced digestive system forced him to retire from matches with dizziness, gastroenteritis and exhaustion. The Serb even drew plenty of flak from the organisers and his colleagues for his unprofessional approach.

Fortunately, for Djokovic, his countryman, Dr. Igor Cetojevic, found that Djokovic was sensitive to gluten food and advised him to refrain from pizza, bread, pasta and pancakes, which were high in gluten content. Soon, Dr. Cetojevic had turned Djokovic from a skinny tennis player to a supremely fit athlete. At the fall of 2010, Djokovic single-handedly led his country Serbia to their first Davis Cup win at the end of 2010.

A few years ago, he even wrote a book titled, Serve to Win: The 14-Day Gluten-Free Plan for Physical and Mental excellence. The book focuses in detail about how Djokovic eliminated gluten from his diet, as advised by his doctor. The healthy approach to eating has helped the 19-time Grand Slam champion reach the very top of tennis.

Vegan plus gluten-free diet

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Today, Djokovic has turned a vegetarian because the plant-based diet not only helped his body. He has also turned dairy-free and refined sugar-free. He is also very conscious of how much water he consumes throughout the day to avoid dehydration. To kick start the morning, he takes a bit of honey as well, which comes from New Zealand.

For breakfast, Djokovic takes a handful of mixed nuts—almonds, walnuts, peanuts. Fruits sliced up in the bowl, like banana and all kinds of berries. For lunch, a typical lunch is gluten-free pasta with vegetables. The pasta is made from quinoa or buckwheat. As for the vegetables, the selection is vast. Arugula, roasted peppers, fresh tomatoes, sometimes cucumber, a lot of broccoli, a lot of cauliflower, green beans, carrots. I combine the vegetables with the pasta and some olive oil and a bit of salt.

During practice, the Serb takes two bottles of an energy drink containing fructose extract. Before a match, he usually eats a power gel with twenty-five milligrams of caffeine. During the match, he eats dried fruits like dates. I have one or two teaspoons of honey. Finally, his dinner is packed with high protein to wrap up the day.

Also read: What tennis racquet does Novak Djokovic use?