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Serve to Win: The 14-Day Gluten-Free Plan for Physical and Mental Excellence (Anglais) Relié – 20 août 2013

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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 things,” Monfils suggested.

I tried. In professional tennis today, the slightest change in your skill level, your physical conditioning, and your mindset make all the difference. I practiced every morning and every afternoon, I lifted weights, I biked or ran for hours at a stretch every single day. It made no sense that I was unfit. I changed trainers, looking for a new workout regimen. I changed coaches, thinking that something in my technique would free me from this curse. I had nasal surgery, hoping that would allow me to breathe more freely. Each change helped, a little; season by season, I grew a little stronger and fitter. In 2007, I became only the second player to beat both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal since their ascent to the top of the game.

Yet every time I took a big step toward my dream, I felt as though a rope were around my torso, pulling me back. Professional tennis is one continuous, eleven-month-long season, and the key to consistency is being able to recover quickly from one match to the next. I’d win one tournament, then collapse unexpectedly in the next; win one epic match, then retire in the middle of the following round.

Maybe my problem wasn’t physical, but mental: I took up meditation, then yoga, trying to calm my mind. My training became obsessive: For fourteen hours a day, every single day, I did nothing but focus on improving my mental and physical game. And in the process, I became one of the top ten tennis players in the world.

But I had a dream, and it wasn’t to be “one of” the best. There were two men in the world who were the best—Federer and Nadal—and to them, I was nothing but an occasional annoyance—one who might quit at any moment when the going got tough. These guys were the elite; I was stuck somewhere in the second tier.

I won my first Grand Slam, the Australian Open, in January of 2008—a breakthrough. But a year later, against Andy Roddick, I once again had to retire from the tournament. The defending champion, and I quit?! What was wrong with me? “Cramp, bird flu, anthrax, SARS, common cough and cold,” Roddick said about me, making fun of the fact that I so often fell ill. Even Federer, who’s so quiet and gentlemanly, dismissed me when talking to reporters: “I think he’s a joke, you know, when it comes down to his injuries.”

At the end of 2009, I even moved my training camp to Abu Dhabi, hoping that by practicing in the sizzling heat of the Persian Gulf, I’d be better prepared for the Australian Open in Melbourne. Maybe by acclimating myself better, I’d finally beat this thing.

And at first, it looked as though I’d finally figured it all out. By January 27, 2010, I’d made it to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, handling my opposition easily along the way. Across the net in my quarterfinal match was Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the tenth-ranked tennis player in the world. I was ranked number three. Two years earlier to the day, I’d beaten him on this very court on my way to winning my first Grand Slam tournament at age twenty-one. And on this day, I needed to be just as good. No, better.

Tsonga is two hundred pounds of pure muscle, one of the biggest and strongest players in the game, and his serve comes in at 140 miles an hour. When he puts his body weight into a return, the ball comes in “heavy,” with a combination of speed and topspin that feels like it could knock the racquet right out of your hand. And yet he moves with great quickness around the court. On this day, in his neon yellow T-shirt, he looked as big as the sun, and just as relentless. He had taken the first set, 7–6, after a punishing tiebreaker that drove the crowd to their feet over and over again.

But in by the second set, my obsessive preparation finally started to take over. I took the second set, 7–6, and then I began to control him, running him back and forth along the baseline. The singles court is twenty-seven feet from side to side, and I could cover that distance as well as anyone.

I took the third set easily, 6–1. I had him.

And then it happened, again. With Tsonga up 1–0 in the fourth set, the invisible force attacked. I couldn’t breathe. When he took the next game, something rose up in my throat; I pleaded with the chair umpire for a toilet break. I didn’t want my opponent to see what I was about to do.

I raced into the locker room, burst into a stall, and fell to my knees. Gripping the side of the toilet bowl, my stomach in spasms, I felt as though I were vomiting up all of my strength.

When I walked back onto the court, I was a different player.

Tsonga knew my body was breaking down, and holding serve, he could run me back and forth across the court like a toy. I felt the crowd shift to his side, and his serve seemed faster, heavier—or maybe I was slower, weaker. It was as though I were playing against a giant. More than once, his shots left my feet stuck to the blue Plexicushion surface; I simply couldn’t move them. He took the fourth set, 6–3.

By the start of the fifth set, it was clear to everyone in the park how this match would turn out. Serving 0–40, with Tsonga up 3–1, I hit the lowest point of my career. It was break point, in more ways than one.

I had to deliver a perfect serve, knock him off balance, regain some control. If there was one chance for me to battle back, I needed to make this serve the best of the hundreds of thousands I’d hit in my lifetime.

Bounce, bounce. I tossed the ball in the air. I tried to expand my torso to get full extension, but my entire chest felt tight. It was as though I was swinging Thor’s hammer instead of a tennis racquet.

My body was broken.


My mind was broken. Bounce, bounce. Serve.


Game, Tsonga.

The end came quickly and mercifully, like an execution. After shaking hands at midcourt, he danced around the park, urging on the crowd, full of power and energy. I was drained. Seventeen years of practicing every single day, and yet I did not feel physically or mentally strong enough to be o...

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Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Pourquoi j'ai lu ce livre ?
J'aime le tennis. J'aime m'inspirer des meilleurs pour devenir "plus fort". Et c'est la promesse de ce livre. Est-elle tenue ? Oui.

A la fois inspirant et utile, ce livre se lira en 1 ou 2 soirées, tellement vous serez pris (c'est aussi un livre facile à lire).

Pour qui :
> Sportifs recherchant la performance
> Tennismen
> Nutritionniste et passionné de nutrition

Les plus :
+ très pratique
+ son histoire est génial (passer n°1 mondial en arrêtant le Gluten)
+ j'ai arrêté le gluten grâce à ce livre. Djokovic nous pousse à être ouvert et à essayer pendant 14 jours. J'ai testé et quand j'ai remangé du pain, je me suis senti mal (comme lui) et j'ai compris ce que pouvait provoquer le gluten.

Les moins :
- Pas assez détaillé sur la partie mentale et la partie "mindfulness"

Conclusion : J'ai lu les livres de tous les tennismen. Celui d'Agassi reste le meilleur. Celui de Nadal est banal. Mais celui de Djokovic est très pratique. Ce n'est pas un livre de divertissement comme celui d'Agassi. C'est un livre pour devenir plus fort mentalement et physiquement. Et c'est réussi. Très belle réussite.

Ce livre mérite 5*
Remarque sur ce commentaire 7 sur 7 ont trouvé cela utile. Avez-vous trouvé ce commentaire utile ? Oui Non Commentaire en cours d'envoi...
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Format: Relié
Le livre se lit très facilement, même pour ceux comme moi qui ne maitrisent pas parfaitement l'anglais.
On y découvre le parcours de Novak (de son enfance où il a connu la guerre à son accession à la place de n°1 mondial), ainsi que son approche de la nutrition - assez enrichissant - et de la préparation physique et mentale (méditation, yoga).
On voit que Djoko est quelqu'un de très ouvert d'esprit ("open-minded") et qu'il nous suggère de l'être également.
Un très bon livre, que ce soit pour les fans comme pour les non-fans (comme moi ;) ) de Djoko!
Remarque sur ce commentaire 3 sur 3 ont trouvé cela utile. Avez-vous trouvé ce commentaire utile ? Oui Non Commentaire en cours d'envoi...
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0xa2d3fde0) étoiles sur 5 166 commentaires
41 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0xa2aecee8) étoiles sur 5 inspiring and entertaining 27 août 2013
Par T Stojanovic - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This is a brilliant book. Very interesting subject, beautifully written with many entertaining background stories. I have tried his advice and am fascinated with results. I feel better than ever, although I have never suffered from any allergies. It just makes so much sense. Everybody would profit from reading it. I have already told all my friends and family about this book and will be buying it to them as birthday presents...
34 internautes sur 40 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0xa2aef42c) étoiles sur 5 Real joy to read, nice mix of memoirs, dietary recipes and motivational literature... 4 septembre 2013
Par Helpful Advice - Publié sur
Format: Relié
"Serve to Win: The 14-Day Gluten-Free Plan for Physical and Mental Excellence" by famous tennis player Novak Ðokovic is not usual diet book, but nice mix of memoirs, dietary recipes and motivational literature.

When back in 2011 he won 10 tournaments and had won 43 consecutive matches Novak was able to finally overcome Federer and Nadal, and become world No.1 tennis player.

From the first time he came on tennis scene it was obvious that he had extreme amount of talent, but had also problems with health and injuries. There were lot of occasions when he had to call time-out during match due to a need of medical help, he had problems with excessive fatigue and breathing. Due to this issues he began to be criticized in the media as a hypochondriac or not fit enough.

But the problem was not in any of the above but in his diet. He changed his diet after he met Dr. Cetojevic, who assumed that problems were caused due to food intolerance. After Novak gave up gluten for 2 weeks he immediately saw and felt the difference and it was obvious that he have to eliminate dairy and gluten from his meals. The result was that he lost some weight, but gain lot of energy and flexibility, the problems with breathing ceased and then happened all the above-mentioned successes in 2011.

As mentioned, the book is mostly about nutrition and the effects this new nutrition plan had on his life but it's not only about his diet. It gives reader some interesting facts about how he started playing tennis, his family background, describing support he got from his family that helped him to overcome problems and become the best tennis player in the world.

Speaking about the diet inside can be found a wealth of information about healthy eating and Balkans medicine that will be interesting for someone who is not from this geographic area. The author suggests to the reader to try stop eating gluten for 2 weeks, as he did, and see what will be the results. In fact he is giving suggestions to a reader, not a complete diet plan to follow, he reminds that we have to remember to use common sense, and while following doctor's advices we should always listen to our body. This book will probably also be of interest for vegans and vegetarians because it could help them to broaden their meals selection.

The book nice add-on is that Novak is also sharing his insights how to achieve stronger mind-set that could be interesting to players of different sports, not just tennis.

The book is real joy to read, it's written in a colloquial literary style making it easy to comprehend.
Therefore, regardless of whether you plan to follow Novak's advices or not, I strongly recommend you to read this interesting book.
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0xa2aef384) étoiles sur 5 The new frontier in tennis. Multidimensional thinking that will change tennis forever. 8 avril 2014
Par Claude Venter - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
To me this book is important and relevant for many reasons. Not only is Novak one of the best players in the history of the game but as the book reveals he is a pioneer in his approach to all aspects of the game. Because of a media bias I ( and everyone else who gets their info from western media ) was not aware of the complete story of the tragedy of the Bosnian war. I was never aware of the difficulties he and his family faced. For someone who grew up with relatively little access to free information on alternative approaches to health he has certainly excelled and become a ground breaker into this exciting, relatively untapped field of self healing.
The book is gripping for anyone with an inquiring, open mind. It has a great balance of insight into the miracle and simplicity of self healing and a unique insight into professional tennis. It is clearly written. It is not loaded with unnecessary medical jargon or unsubstantiated facts. He doesn't claim to be a nutritionist or doctor. He just learnt to listen with an open mind and heart.
"When you get to the end of all the light you know, and it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.
-Edward Teller
Everything Novak writes about makes absolute sense to me. It addresses so many levels of life that isn't typically generic and fearful. I am just surprised that it has taken this long for some one of his calibre to take advantage of what has been there all along. It's a wonderful irony that as he achieved financial success where he could afford the most expensive allopathic medical doctors opinions he found the answers for free.
I am sure in a way Novak is appreciative of his hardships. Without them he would never have pushed to discovered his full potential.
I admire Novak for speaking out against the norm. It takes a special kind of person to be this aware, to walk the talk and not be a sheep who just follows.
I just wish he had written about the importance of fresh water. Most tap water contains, chlorides and other very harmful chemicals. One should always try filter tap water.
Water bottled in plastic contains harmful chemicals from the plastic. One should try to only drink from glass bottled water.

I am a 51 year old South African male ( tennis nut ) I am busy with an alternative treatment to cure cancer (Lymphoma) that is organic food based. It's called the Gerson therapy [...] I have done this therapy for 3 years now. After 2 years my bloods were totally normal. I have no traces of cancer. I am healthier and happier than I have ever been. For these reasons this book makes so much sense to me.
Like Novak I learned to listen to my body.
Claude Venter
24 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0xa2aefa68) étoiles sur 5 Very interesting book by the n#1 in the world 3 septembre 2013
Par Jane Doe - Publié sur
Format: Relié
I'd pretty much buy anything by Novak Djokovic as I'm a huge admirer of his, but I guess this book is not so much about the man himself but a life-changing experience that everyone should read. It doesn't matter if you are an athlete or not, many people suffer a celiac desease without knowing, much like it happened to Novak. At least this book will enlighten a lot of people about the changes in diet that can lead to a healthier, more fulfilling life. I recently discovered i was intolerant to gluten and I must thank Novak for that. He's always been a great role model for people and I value that he takes his time to share his findings with all of us. Number 1 on and off the court.

However it must be said that some reviews make it sound like Novak became this amazing champion just by changing his diet and this could be missleading. It's true Novak had many allergies and ailments before that impeded him to compete at the highest level all the time, but let's not forget he was already n#3 in the world for many years and already a winner of one slam at the tender age of 22. It wasn't a transformation from one day to the next as some make it to be. I understand it might help sell more books but the truth is that without his talent and skills, it doesn't matter how well you eat. And it's highly exaggerated that "he barely could complete a tournament before". What the heck? he won many titles previous to his fantastic 2011 season, so he was perfectly capable of competing at the highest level and win titles with or without gluten.
19 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0xa2aefee8) étoiles sur 5 Highly entertaining 27 août 2013
Par T.W. - Publié sur
Format: Relié
This is a great book for people who like to read about diets and for tennis lovers. The writing style is quick and easy. I read this in two days. I will def. follow some of Novak's advice on food.
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