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- Serbian tennis player
Novak Djokovic is (arguably) the greatest male tennis player who ever lived.
Djokovic ascribes some measure of his success to his diet. As he writes in his book on nutrition, "Serve to Win," he discovered his sensitivity to gluten when he held a piece of bread to his stomach with one hand and lost strength in his other arm.
“I’m not prescribing anything," he writes. "Only you can know what foods are right for you.”
What if it’s gluten?
If you are looking at (arguably) the greatest tennis player who ever lived as an eminent authority on nutrition, or allergies, or kinesiology, go right ahead and hold a piece of bread to your stomach. I will hold your beer.
Djokovic also writes about making pure water turn green by directing negative energy at the glass.
“That test is proof that every single thing in the world shares the same kind of energy … people, animals, the elements … especially food.”
If you are looking at (arguably) the greatest tennis player who ever lived as an expert in physics or physiology, you might consider Stan Lee to be your adjunct professor.
Disclaimer: Gluten-free diets are important to millions of people, especially those who have celiac disease; it would be folly to dismiss all of Eastern medicine, which has been practiced for thousands of years. And there’s much that needs to be studied about the impact of subtle energies on our bodies.
That said, the (arguably) greatest tennis player who ever lived is not necessarily fit to, say, serve as chairman of the Federal Reserve, even if he has some thoughts on curbing inflation.
It is good for superstar athletes to raise their voices and give their opinions. It is their right as human beings. Often, they can bring a unique perspective on any number of issues. To this end, I miss Muhammad Ali, I hope Bill Russell lives forever and I lend an ear when LeBron James or Megan Rapinoe has something to say.
With superstar status comes a certain civic responsibility. Kyrie Irving is an amazing point guard, and Uncle Drew is terrifically entertaining (even though his movie needed a couple more rewrites). But the flat-earth theorist should be careful about using his platform to teach Zetetic Astronomy. Children are listening.
Djokovic has some very good ideas about reorganizing tennis players to give more rank-and-files pros a chance to make a decent living. He often comes across as a charitable, decent human being. Certainly, he is something of a hero in his native Serbia, and beyond.
Yet, Djokovic is not universally hailed. His on-court gamesmanship, including the faking of injuries and the taking of tactically long bathroom breaks, have cast him as totally self-absorbed and utterly lacking in humility, or shame. He rarely accepts blame for anything and comes off as a paranoiac.
And his parents hold press conferences that do nothing but buttress their son’s sense of entitlement.
Love him or hate him, Djokovic is (arguably) the greatest tennis player who ever lived.
What he is not is a dietician or a physicist or an epidemiologist. Maybe, he is not above the law, either. We shall see.
Djokovic landed in Melbourne more than a week ahead of the Australian Open. He is a nine-time champion there. If he wins, it’ll be his 21st Grand Slam tournament title, and he will pass Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to become the all-time leader in men’s singles Slam trophies. GOAT stuff.
Djokovic, a noted anti-vaxxer who has refused the jab, was given an exemption to cross Australia’s closed border. The exemption was based on his claim that he had contracted COVID-19 last month. Nobody is absolutely sure his claim is true.
Upon landing in Melbourne, his exemption was questioned, and his visa was canceled. He supplied bogus information on his travel declaration, and he was detained under the threat of deportation. He blamed the mess on his handlers.
Back in Serbia, mommy and daddy held a press conference.
Earlier this week, Djokovic's lawyers won a legal fight on procedural grounds, and he was released from custody. There remains a chance that his visa will be canceled, which could lead to a three-year ban from the country. As of this writing, he was free and tuning up his on-court game.
This is a complicated story that has intertwined with Australia’s refugee policies and its politics. In any case, Djokovic has become the face of it.
Australians, among the most-vaccinated people in the world, have endured numerous lockdowns (not to mention a closed border). They are as tired of the pandemic as the rest of us. They are asking out loud, “Who does this Djoker think he is?”
There is one answer, and one only: (arguably) the greatest male tennis player who ever lived.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Djoker, expert in negative energy, casts his pall over Australian Open