Vegan athlete Novak Djokovic secured his eighth men’s singles title at the Australian Open on Sunday night in Melbourne. The Serbian tennis player defeated Dominic Thiem with a 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory.
The win means not only that Djokovic has secured more wins at the Australian Open than any other singles player, but also that he has reclaimed the No. 1 ranking from rival Rafael Nadal. Thirty-two-year-old Djokovic now holds 17 Grand Slam titles, placing him third behind Federer, who holds the men’s record with 20, and Nahal, who holds 19.
“Definitely my favorite court and my favorite stadium in the world,” Djokovic said after the match, which lasted 3 hours 59 minutes.
Thiem had high praise for his rival. “In the last two sets, I definitely gave everything I had. Novak is part of three guys who are by far the best players ever who played tennis. If you play a Grand Slam final against him, it’s always going to be a match where very small details are deciding,” he said.
Vegan Diet = His Secret to Success
Djokovic follows a plant-based diet and attributes his success as an athlete to the way he eats.
As quoted by The Sun leading up to his Australian Open match, the athlete said “Because of my family, I’ve always had a love for food. But as an athlete, it became something more—the fuel that determines how I play, how I recover, and how alert I am on the court. I attribute a great deal of my professional success to my diet.”
Djokovic said changed his eating habits when he noticed that he felt more exhausted after long matches. He also noticed a dip in his form. Though he has not been vocal about his plant-based diet, the athlete opened the vegan restaurant Eqvita in Monte Carlo in 2016.
Alongside six-time Formula 1 racing champion and fellow vegan athlete Lewis Hamilton, Djokovic is also an executive producer of James Cameron’s documentary “The Game Changers,” which screened globally last September. The film dismantles the myth that animal protein is necessary to be a top athlete.
“I was definitely very happy to be part of a very impressive group of people, from sport, the movie industry, different fields of life, very successful people who are eating plant-based, being healthy, happy and successful in what they do. That is what it is all about,” said Djokovic.