Novak Djokovic has made history by becoming the first man in the 45-year Open era to win three consecutive Australian Open titles by defeating Andy Murray at Melbourne Park on Jan. 27 in four sets, 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-2.
“It’s an incredible feeling, winning the trophy once more," Djokovic said at a press conference shortly after his win, which took a grueling three hours and 40 minutes. "It’s definitely my favorite Grand Slam, my most successful Grand Slam. I love this court.” Novak has won a total of four Australian Open trophies: In 2008, and then 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Djokovic, 25, has been unstoppable since switching to a gluten-free diet two years ago. The Serbian tennis sensation has credited the dietary overhaul for dramatically improving his tennis and overall health.
“Mentally, you’ll be fresh, you’ll be happier, you’ll be calmer," said Djokovic. Physically, you’ll be stronger, faster, more dynamic, your muscles will work better. That’s what I feel."
A 2010 test for food intolerance indicated that Novak was allergic to gluten. He has since been following a high-protein, gluten-free diet and has been playing the best tennis of his life. Novak now avoids most starches, including his past favorites, pizza and pasta.
The lanky 6-foot-2 Djokovic initially lost 10 pounds after cutting gluten out of his diet (a result the naturally thin Novak was not trying to achieve), but insists it has only helped his game.
"I have lost some weight but it's only helped me, because my movement is much sharper now and I feel great physically," said Novak, whose weight now hovers at 176 pounds. “I am very skinny. [But] I am fast and very powerful on the court, so this is what matters.”
When he's not training, Djokovic occasionally indulges his taste for all kinds of delicious foods (including those containing gluten), but says following a healthy diet most of the time brings out his best.
"If you can mentally overcome this greed and eat only the food that is good for your metabolism, then you will have the best results, not just in tennis but in life as well," he said.