The Foods That Turned Novak Djokovic Into One of the Best Tennis Players of All Time

Novak Djokovic
Novak DjokovicCharles Masters

Novak Djokovic’s racked up wins at more than one U.S. and Australian Open, and carried no less than four ATP World Tour victories. With such consistent dominance on the court, you might well ask, “What is this guy eating?”

Lucky for you, we have the answer. Djokovic believes that food is information, and treats each meal as a communication with his body. Here’s what he’s telling it morning, noon, and night. 

Muesli with berries and honey
Muesli with berries and honey Charles Masters


Almost every day of Djokovic’s season starts with honey, fruit, and an oat-based cereal mix. “Your body needs sugar,” says Djokovic. “In particular, it needs fructose, the sugar found in fruits, some vegetables, and especially honey.”

Power Bowl Muesli
Serves 2


1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds
½ cup sliced almonds


1) Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl or, if traveling, a resealable plastic bag.
2) Serve with rice or almond milk; bananas, berries, or sliced apples; and your favorite natural sweetener, if desired.


Mixed greens salad with avocado


Djokovic focuses on carbs and maximizing his vegetable-based nutrient intake at lunch. “During the day, I want my body to be as energized as possible,” says Djokovic. “When I eat carbs with very little protein, I’m telling my body, ‘I need energy.’”

Gluten-Free Pasta Primavera
Serves 4


2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into half-moons
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into half-moons
½ bunch (½ pound) asparagus, trimmed and sliced on the bias
4 cups rice pasta
¼ cup thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes, plus more for garnish, if desired
¼ tsp sea salt
2 tbsp grated vegan cheese, to top (optional)
Chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley or basil (optional)


1) In a large sauté pan over medium heat, combine the olive oil and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
2) Add the sliced squash, zucchini, and asparagus and sauté until tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
3) Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot according to package instructions. Strain the cooked pasta and return to the pot.
4) When the vegetables are tender, add them to the pasta and toss well to combine. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and sea salt. If desired, top with vegan cheese to taste and serve with fresh herbs and additional sun-dried tomatoes.

Mixed Greens Salad with Avocado 
Serves 4 


4 cups wild arugula
2 cups mesclun mixed greens
1 cup cannellini beans, rinsed
1 medium cucumber, peeled, thinly sliced into half-moons
1 large, ripe avocado, halved and thinly sliced
¼ cup sunflower seeds


2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
12 slices lox or smoked salmon (optional)


1) In a large salad bowl, combine the arugula, mixed greens, cannellini beans, and cucumber slices.
2) Toss the salad with half of the vinaigrette. If desired, top the salad with sunflower seeds, avocado slices, and lox.


Sea bass with mango salsa


Dinner is a protein-rich, low-carb meal of fish, chicken, or lean, grass-fed beef. “ At night, I don’t need energy,” says Djokovic. “So at dinner, I will tell my body,‘I need you to repair this mess I made. Please take this protein and do what needs to be done.’”

Sea Bass with Mango and Papaya Salsa 
Serves 6

To marinate the fish:

¼ cup fresh lime juice (from 2–3 limes)
4 tbsp plus 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp chili powder (optional)
¼ tsp sea salt
1½ pounds sea bass, red snapper, or rock fish fillets
2 limes, cut into wedges (optional)

For the mango salsa:

1 large, semi-ripe mango, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 large, ripe papaya, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
½ red onion, finely diced
¼ to ½ serrano chili, finely diced (optional)
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup peeled and finely diced roasted red peppers (roast your own for better flavor)
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
Sea salt, to taste


1) Marinate the fish: Whisk the lime juice, 3 tbsp plus 2 tsp of the olive oil, the oregano, cumin, chili powder (if using), and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the fish fillets and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.
2) Make the salsa: Toss the mango, papaya, and red onion in a bowl with the chili (if using), cilantro, roasted red peppers, and lime juice. Season with salt and refrigerate.
3) Heat a grill or a castiron grill pan to high heat. Carefully grease the grates or pan with the remaining 2 tsp of olive oil. Remove the fish from the marinade and place on the grill. Cook for 4–5 minutes, until firm and no longer opaque. Remove bones if needed.
4) Top the sea bass with the salsa and a fresh lime wedge

Carrot Ginger Soup
Serves 6


1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 lbs organic carrots (1 bag) peeled, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
7 to 8 cups vegetable stock
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp sea salt, to taste


1) In a large stockpot, over medium heat, sauté the onions just until soft and fragrant, approximately 8 minutes.
2) Add the chopped carrots, minced garlic, bay leaf, fresh grated ginger and sauté for another 20 minutes.
3) Add in the vegetable stock and turn the stove heat up to medium, (a mild simmer). Cook carrots and onion through until soft, approximately 20 more minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
4) Carefully add the soup to a food processor. Using the pulse setting, blend until well combined and a puréed soup forms. Season mixture with nutmeg and sea salt. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot. If desired, add a bit of extra ginger, or orange zest to top off soup.


Blueberry almond butter smoothie


Blueberry Almond Butter Smoothie
Serves 4


2 cups frozen blueberries
1 frozen banana
2 tbsp almond butter
1 cup fresh spinach
2 cups unsweetened almond milk


In a large blender, purée the blueberries, banana, almond butter, spinach, and almond milk until fully combined. Pour into four glasses and serve immediately.

*If necessary, stop the blender to scrape the sides with a spatula, then resume blending until smooth.

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