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Tennis: It can be a dog's life on Djokovic's gluten-free programme

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Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

REUTERS

Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal thinks it is a passing fad and Caroline Wozniacki will not even try it on her pet dog, but Novak Djokovic is convinced that a gluten-free diet has been the key to his success.

'Serve To Win', Djokovic's book about the diet that has transformed his health and his career, has been the talk of tennis since its publication last week, though the world No 1 does not appear to be making many converts. Djokovic says his health has improved markedly since he discovered his intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat.

"Oh no, I have extra gluten," Roger Federer joked when asked whether he had been tempted to follow the diet. "I've always paid attention to what I eat. I've always been a healthy eater. Clearly you can take it to the next step – when, to eat, exactly what, before the match, during the match, after the match, what to eat exactly if you're not sure.

Nadal also said a gluten-free diet was not for him. "I am happy with a normal diet," he said. "But I'm not saying it's a negative thing. Everybody is free to do what they want. Everybody does things differently."

Seriousness

Djokovic said – with perhaps a hint of seriousness – that he had even put his pet dog on a gluten-free regime. "Pierre is following his daddy's diet, for sure," the Serb said. "That's why he's so fit."

However, Wozniacki, Djokovic's neighbour in Monte Carlo, said her dog Bruno would not be going gluten-free. "My dog is only having one life and I want him to enjoy it," she said. "Whether that means he's going to become a little bit chubby, then so be it. I'd rather have him a little bit chubby and happy than too skinny and miserable."

He added: "I am not trying, through the book, to influence anybody's life or to tell people how they should eat or live or maybe treat their food. I'm just sharing my own experience and hoping that people who are reading it can actually take some valuable examples and experiences to implement in their own life."

Meanwhile, on the court, Li Na and Agnieszka Radwanska were two of the few to beat the rain to reach the second round at a stormy Flushing Meadows.

Third seed Radwanska had a tough second set against Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor but came through 6-0 7-5 while fifth seed Li defeated Sweden's Sofia Arvidsson 6-2 6-2.

Dark clouds were gathering before the pair were off court, and not long afterwards, play was suspended because of the threat of lightning. (© Independent News Service)

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