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Serve to Win

Cover of Serve to Win

Serve to Win

The 14-Day Gluten-Free Plan for Physical and Mental Excellence
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Novak Djokovic reveals the gluten-free diet and fitness plan that transformed his health and pushed him to the pinnacle.

In 2011, Novak Djokovic had what sportswriters called the greatest single season ever by a professional tennis player: He won ten titles, three Grand Slams, and forty-three consecutive matches. Remarkably, less than two years earlier, this champion could barely complete a tournament. How did a player once plagued by aches, breathing difficulties, and injuries on the court suddenly become the #1 ranked tennis player in the world? The answer is astonishing: He changed what he ate.

In Serve to Win, Djokovic recounts how he survived the bombing of Belgrade, Serbia, rising from a war-torn childhood to the top tier of his sport. While Djokovic loved and craved bread and pasta, and especially the pizza at his family's restaurant, his body simply couldn't process wheat. Eliminating gluten--the protein found in wheat--made him feel instantly better, lighter, clearer, and quicker. As he continued to research and refine his diet, his health issues disappeared, extra pounds dropped away, and his improved physical health and mental focus allowed him to achieve his two childhood dreams: to win Wimbledon, and to become the #1 ranked tennis player in the world.

Now Djokovic has created a blueprint for remaking your body and your life in just fourteen days. With weekly menus, mindful eating tips for optimal digestion, and delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes, you'll be well on your way to shedding extra weight and finding your way to a better you. Djokovic also offers tips for eliminating stress and simple exercises to get you revved up and moving, the very same ones he does before each match.

You don't need to be a superstar athlete to start living and feeling better. With Serve to Win, a trimmer, stronger, healthier you is just two weeks away.

From the Hardcover edition.

Novak Djokovic reveals the gluten-free diet and fitness plan that transformed his health and pushed him to the pinnacle.

In 2011, Novak Djokovic had what sportswriters called the greatest single season ever by a professional tennis player: He won ten titles, three Grand Slams, and forty-three consecutive matches. Remarkably, less than two years earlier, this champion could barely complete a tournament. How did a player once plagued by aches, breathing difficulties, and injuries on the court suddenly become the #1 ranked tennis player in the world? The answer is astonishing: He changed what he ate.

In Serve to Win, Djokovic recounts how he survived the bombing of Belgrade, Serbia, rising from a war-torn childhood to the top tier of his sport. While Djokovic loved and craved bread and pasta, and especially the pizza at his family's restaurant, his body simply couldn't process wheat. Eliminating gluten--the protein found in wheat--made him feel instantly better, lighter, clearer, and quicker. As he continued to research and refine his diet, his health issues disappeared, extra pounds dropped away, and his improved physical health and mental focus allowed him to achieve his two childhood dreams: to win Wimbledon, and to become the #1 ranked tennis player in the world.

Now Djokovic has created a blueprint for remaking your body and your life in just fourteen days. With weekly menus, mindful eating tips for optimal digestion, and delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes, you'll be well on your way to shedding extra weight and finding your way to a better you. Djokovic also offers tips for eliminating stress and simple exercises to get you revved up and moving, the very same ones he does before each match.

You don't need to be a superstar athlete to start living and feeling better. With Serve to Win, a trimmer, stronger, healthier you is just two weeks away.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Excerpts-
  • Introduction

    The Diet That Transformed Me

    From the brink of failure to the champion of the world--in 18 months

    Just as I was reaching for the top, I hit bottom.

    I was nineteen years old, an unknown kid from a war-torn country, who had suddenly burst onto the professional scene. I was on a nine-match winning streak and poised to take a commanding lead in the final round of the 2006 Croatia Open. The stadium crowd was on my side, my team was cheering me on.

    And yet I couldn't hear them. All I could hear was the roaring in my head. All I could feel was pain. Something was pinching my nose closed, bear-hugging my chest, pouring concrete into my legs.

    I looked across the net at my opponent, Stanislas Wawrinka. I looked into the stands, where my mother sat. And then, suddenly, gravity sucked me backward onto the red clay court, and I was looking up at the open Croatian sky, my chest heaving. The Curse--the mysterious force that sapped my strength without warning--had closed in on me once more.

    No matter how hard I inhaled, the air would not come.

    My father, Srdjan, ran out onto the court, and with a doctor, lifted me up by my arms and sat me down in my courtside chair. I looked up at my mother, sobbing in the stands, and I knew. This tournament was over. And maybe my life's dream was over, too.

    Most people don't decide what they want from life when they're six years old, but I had. Thirteen years earlier, sitting in the tiny living room over my parents' pizza parlor in a remote mountain town of Kopaonik in rural Serbia, I watched Pete Sampras win Wimbledon, and I knew: One day that would be me.

    I'd never played tennis. No one I knew played tennis. In Serbia, tennis was as obscure a sport as, say, fencing. And the glamour of London was about as far as you could get from the desolate little resort town where my family lived. Yet at that very moment, I knew what I wanted more than anything: I wanted to lift the Wimbledon cup over my head, hear the crowd cheer, and know I had become the number one player in the world.

    My parents had bought me a little rainbow-colored racquet and some Wiffle balls when I was four, and I would entertain myself for hours, hitting the balls against the wall of the restaurant. But from the moment I saw Sampras that day, I knew. And for the next thirteen years, I gave every day of my life to reaching my goal. My family, who made countless sacrifices; my friends who supported me from the beginning; my trainers and coaches and fans--they all came together to get me as close to my life's dream as possible.

    But there was something about me that was broken, unhealthy, unfit. Some called it allergies, some called it asthma, some just called it being out of shape. But no matter what we called it, no one knew how to fix it.

    It wasn't the first time I'd collapsed in a big tournament. A year earlier, ranked just 153rd in the world, I shocked 8th-seed Guillermo Coria by taking the first set of our match in my very first French Open appearance. But by the third set, my legs turned to rock, and I couldn't breathe, and finally I resigned. "Obviously, he was tired after a while," Coria remarked afterward. "When you're fit, you ought to be able to play a long match in hot weather."

    Three months later, in the opening round of my first US Open, playing against Gael Monfils, I literally collapsed on the court. I lay on my back like a beached whale in the humid 80-degree heat, laboring for breath, waiting for a trainer. After four embarrassing time-outs, I managed to win that match, but I was booed off the court, and my lack of fitness was the talk of the tournament. "Maybe he ought to change some...

About the Author-
  • Novak Djokovic is a Serbian tennis player who is ranked World #1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

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The 14-Day Gluten-Free Plan for Physical and Mental Excellence
Novak Djokovic
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Novak Djokovic
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