Novak Djokovic: Meditation, Yoga and Veganism Helped Shape My Success
This year's Wimbledon winner on how changing his lifestyle helped him change his game.
by Jamie Millar
15 July 2019, 10:07am
A version of this article originally appeared on Amuse in April of 2018, but we're republishing it here today because obviously Djokovic won Wimbledon yesterday.
Even among elite athletes, Novak Djokovic is well-known for his devotion to eating clean. This might have something to do with the fact his initial rise to number one coincided with him going gluten-free, or that he's both published a diet book and opened a vegan restaurant, Eqvita, in Monaco.
Last year, Amuse asked one of the mentally and physically fittest players on the ATP tour at the time to share five tips on upping your own wellbeing game.
Check Your Diet
"My gluten intolerance was discovered in 2010. Before that, I didn't even know what gluten was. I also removed the dairy products and refined sugar from my diet as well, which is maybe even more important than gluten. I think that's helped me not only to be a better tennis player throughout my career in the last seven years, but also a healthier person, an athlete that recovers faster. It worked for me. Obviously I'm not saying this is the way to go for everyone, but it's something that has been a very important, integral part of my career, of my life."
"I do [meditation and yoga] out of a need to have an optimal state of mind and peace and calm, and at the same time happiness and joy. Everybody has their ways to reach that state of consciousness where you're in a good mood and you feel love towards yourself, towards people around you, towards the planet. So I try to be aligned with this kind of approach and mindset in life […] Because it was definitely not an easy period for me in the last seven to eight months. The results were not there in the big tournaments. But more than results, it was that lack of balance on the court emotionally."
Forget Your Fears
"I work very hard every single day to not have any fears. I think that fears are the biggest enemy of all of us in every aspect of our beings, whatever we do. If I paid too much attention to my fears, I wouldn't be able to achieve what I have."
Let the Love In
"I try to focus on the positive emotions that drive me, like passion, joy and the pure inspiration to play the sport that I love. I have to always go back to that core: the fact that I enjoy just holding a racket and playing on a daily basis on any regular court, not just the centre court of Grand Slams, brings me that excitement and that joy that pushes me to keep on going […] So I've had to rediscover this inner joy of motivation, of playing. And not only to win or lose, but playing for the sake of enjoying the game.
Enter a New Dimension of Consciousness
"I was blessed to become a father almost three years ago, and my wife is pregnant again […] Personally, my life as a tennis player has changed since then. Not in a way of not having enough motivation or playing enough tournaments, but entering a new dimension of consciousness and being aware of myself as more than just a tennis player. Now, when I come home I have to leave the racket on the side and commit to the family duties, which I enjoy very much. And I think that brings me that sense of calmness and great recovery as well."