The world’s best tennis player: a low carber?

Novak Djokovic is undefeated this year; he has won 39 matches in a row. Experts believe he will very soon advance from number two in the rankings to become the number one player in the world.

So what is the secret to his form? Many things, no doubt, but maybe this is a big factor: He no longer eats any pizza, pasta or bread.

Will a low(ish) carber soon rule the tennis world?

24 Comments

  1. This is great! It sure is an inspiration for others. My oldest son is a 17 and his gained so much more muscle tone and become stronger/faster since he gave up grains, starchy vegetables etc and now is Paleo..He improved his performance so much that his friends asked my husband (sport nutritionist) for advise.
  2. Ingvar Bejvel
    Being a tennis and golf player I've been expecting for some years now that some player would discover the benefits of the ketogenic diet. Djokovic is by no means the first athlete to discover this fenomenon, the downplayed and cool biathlon Björn Ferry turned to lowcarb-highfat regimen just six months prior to his gold medal in the Olympics 2011. And did you notice Jonas Colting!?

    On a personal basis I would like to add that the lack of lactic acid will make you ready for the next shot in no time. Last night I beat a guy half my age in tennis, and he was no pushover!

    And, of course, losing some extra kilos won't hold you down either.

    Now, let's see who the first golf player will be to turn to the ketogenic and original way of swinging a club. God knows, most American golf players need some ketogenic regimen badly!

  3. Andreas,

    First of all love the blog, will be an avid reader.

    Second of all, more athletes are realizing that low carb high fat diets are the best for performance! I have recommended and written low carb high fat diets to Olympic athletes, professional athletes and athletes of all sorts, and every single one of them have improved their performances using this diet.

    Although many athletes are hesitant to reduce their carbohydrate intake, the current nutritional guidelines for performance are as crazy as the ones for a "healthy diet".

    The National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends endurance athletes take in 8-10g/kg of carbohydrates on a daily basis. They then go on to recommend 8-10g/kg of carbohydrates for carbo loading for racing. They are recommending athletes carboload year round. Surely, most sport nutritionist tend to over recommend carbohydrates, out of fear more than anything.

    Although athletes have higher needs for carbohydrates, depending on the sport, all athletes should strive for carbohydrate minimalism. Many athletes ignore fat, and lose out on performance gains.

    Keep up the great work, and I will keep recommending Paleo/low carb high fat diets to my athletes.

  4. Mike,
    Fascinating stuff. It makes me happy to see that many personal trainers and athletes in Sweden (and other places, obviously) are starting to use (semi) low carb high fat diets for losing fat, gaining muscle and improving performance.

    I think it's just a question of time until we see more examples of elite athletes destroying the competition using lowish carb diets. Maybe some of your clients? :)

  5. I wish Nole may have never get rid of pizzas & bread, maybe this way Rafa Nadal would be able to beat him again ;)

    BTW: Great blog!

  6. Bojana
    Adreas,

    Great blog!!!
    I love everything, and I've myself assured that LCHF works...
    But though, I have one dilemma : How come Italians are not fat and they are eating pasta and pizza all the time and ice cream of course :)
    I really miss pasta :(

  7. Bojana,
    Well some pasta loving Italians are not so skinny you know... ;)

    I think many Italians eat pretty well though, they love their food and it's often real home cooked food. Antipasti is usually fairly low carb and so is often their secundo piatti (meat, fish).

    When I was there two years ago they had loads of different kinds of butter in the stores and there weren't many low fat products to be found. I would guess their ice cream/gelato have quite some fat in it too, they are probably far too proud of it to change it into fake low fat ice cream. :)

  8. Bojana
    I couldn't agree more!!!

    So you say same full fat ice cream and some pasta now and then with all other LCHF food is OK?

    Thnak you for answering so soon!

  9. Bojana,
    Some people can certainly tolerate gelato and pasta once in a while (especially younger people without weight problems). Others (carb sensitive people, type 2 diabetics) gain weight and raise their blood sugar etc.
  10. Funderaren
    Bojana, the good thing with LCHF is that your body will show you very clearly when you eatin the wrong type of food.
  11. A bit OT but not really - (thought maybe some of the commenters here can advise me ;-) )

    My BIL is a long distance runner (half & full marathons) and started going lower on carbs (but not as low as LCHF) about a month or so ago. He feels much lighter and have so far not endured any difficulties while training. However, he's so used to carb load before a race that he doesn't know what to do now as there's a competition next week.

    Can anyone give some advise or point me to a web site or blog or forum or something where he can get advise?

    Thanks!

  12. Dina,
    I'm not an expert in the area but having discussed it a bit with Swedish elite triathlete Jonas Colting I think one or two meals containing moderate amounts of carbs (e.g. some potatoes) the day before the race will do the trick nicely, filling the glycogen deposits.

    No need to go overboard with extreme amounts of pasta or anything like that, unless he wants to be swollen and heavy when he starts running...

  13. Thanks Aitor and Doc!
    I'm forwarding this to BIL :-)
  14. Dan
    I've lifted weights since I was 18, but since I've been on a mostly ketogenic diet the last 5 months, I've gained about 7 pounds. Weight lifting and ketosis really helps you pack on some muscle.
  15. Charlie Shaughnessy
    Looks like somebody was listening. Yahoo just posted a front-page article.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/tennis/blog/busted_racquet/post/Is-Novak-Djok...

    Awesome!

  16. Czeslaw Gryzk
    Hi. Awesome blog, but I'm adding a pinch of salt here - as far as I know gluten free doesn't mean exactly low carb. :-)
    It might be done low carb, but it might be done very high carb - that depends on who 'prescribes' the diet.

    I seriously belive that LCHF version of 'gluten free' is much better, but to be on the honest side I think your post might be a little bit overinterpretation :-)

    Anyway keep up the good work.

  17. Czeslaw,
    You are right of course – we don't know for sure. Observe the question marks in the post above though. ;)
  18. Czeslaw Gryzk
    Doc,
    Point taken :-) But observing comments above I don't think that it was clear enough ;-)
    You know - you see what you want to see ;)
  19. Czeslaw,
    Definitely. However, this being a blog and not the NEJM it's a good thing to be a bit provocative, don't you think? :)
  20. Very happy to read this discussion. There's definitely more info needed about athletes and LCHF. So many people have asked me how I can "survive" without the carbs (while training). I've always referred them to Doc's pages and particularly the parts about Jonas Colting and Björn Ferry.

    But it's good to have more good examples on athletes and LCHF, so please do continue to pass on these links & info whenever you find something!

  21. Bali golf course
    Very happy to read this discussion..........
  22. Bali golf course
    Very happy to read this discussion
  23. Eric Lahmy
    It is funny because Djokovic is not at all low carb high fat. He eats a lot of rice and potatoes. He removed pizzas and bread because of a gluten allergy. The paleo diet was, we guess, the diet of Neanderthalian, and they disappeared. Ih this diet was so good, why they could not survive?

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