Win! Djokovic's new book
I realised the bread I was holding against my stomach was like kryptonite
Enter our competition to win a copy of 'Serve to Win' by Novak Djokovic
Browse the sports section of your local bookstore and you’ll find countless autobiographies from stars around the globe, from athletes to boxers, footballers and cyclists. In the world of tennis, from Jimmy Connors to Rafael Nadal and Andre Agassi to Serena Williams, any tennis champion worth their salt has a book on the shelves.
Until now, Novak Djokovic has resisted the temptation to put pen to paper, but just like his decision to go gluten-free two years ago, Djokovic has spurned convention and rejected the temptation to merely present a chronological narrative of his life so far.
Part-autobiography, part self-help book with some recipes thrown in for good measure, Serve to Win offers an insight into how changing his diet transformed his health, and consequently his game.
Describing his 7-6(8) 6-7(5) 1-6 6-3 6-1 quarter-final defeat to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the 2010 Australian Open as the lowest moment of his professional career, Djokovic reveals how a Serbian doctor diagnosed his dietary problems from the other side of the world.
Watching the match at home in Cyprus, Dr Igor Cetojevic surmised that Djokovic’s breathing problems were a result of an imbalance in his digestive system. Meeting with the nutritionist during the summer of 2010, Djokovic reveals how
Dr Cetojevic demonstrated his intolerance to gluten by holding a piece of bread against his stomach, which noticeably weakened him: “I realised the bread I was holding against my stomach was like kryptonite. I was ready to make some changes.”
More scientific tests confirmed Dr Cetojevic’s suspicions, and he convinced his client to go gluten-free for a fortnight. Initially, Djokovic battled cravings, but within days he felt invigorated. After two weeks, Djokovic reintroduced gluten into his diet, and the bagel he ate made him feel sluggish and dizzy: “I felt like I’d spent the night drinking whiskey!” At that moment Djokovic vowed: “Whatever my body told me, I’d listen.”
Fast forward 12 months and Djokovic, leaner, stronger and 11lbs lighter, simultaneously fulfilled his lifelong ambitions of winning Wimbledon and becoming world No.1, simply because of a change to his diet.
From humble beginnings in Serbia, where “tennis was as obscure a sport as fencing”, Djokovic’s diet has changed drastically from days of grabbing a slice of pizza from his parents’ restaurant in the little mountain resort of Kopaonik.
His decision to ditch gluten has been well documented, but until now the intricacies of his daily routines have been kept under wraps. Having also stopped consuming dairy, Djokovic didn’t just change his diet, he transformed how he thought about food. On a crusade to help people realise that modern wheat is not as healthy as manufacturers would like you to believe, Djokovic presents his 14-day plan for physical and mental excellence.
But this book is not solely targeted at aspiring Grand Slam champions looking to get the edge on their rivals on court – but for anyone who wants to “play at the highest level in every realm of life”. “I never imagined that my new eating habits would make me feel so good,” says Djokovic in his final chapter. “Make the changes. Enjoy the process. But don’t let the changes be your goal. Let them be your gateway to bigger, better goals.”
For your chance to win a copy of 'Serve to Win', simply answer the question below by filling out the form on the right hand side of the page.
Which player beat Djokovic in the 2010 Australian Open quarter-finals - a defeat the Serb described as the lowest point of his career?
a) Andy Murray
b) Rafael Nadal
c) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
The closing date for entries is November 1, 2013. No cash alternative will be provided. Tennishead terms and conditions apply.
This competition is no longer open for entries. The winner has been drawn from all the correct entries received by the closing date.