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Professional tennis player Novak Djokovic has credited a plant-based diet for his ‘phenomenal’ performance in the Australian Open. 

The athlete, who won Wimbledon last year, recently defeated Yoshihito Nishioka (6-3, 6-2, 6-2) and is set to move onto the fourth round of the tournament. 

‘A lot of criticism’

According to Essentially Sport, Djokovic said: “I’m very pleased to be plant-based and play on this level now for four-and-a-half years. There has been a lot of criticism also. You know, people around me didn’t really think that I could do that.

“It’s a lifestyle. More than just a diet because you have ethical reasons as well. Being conscious of what is happening in the animal world and you know the slaughtering of animals and farming and everything. 

“There is obviously a huge impact as well on climate change that people maybe don’t talk about as much. It’s more than a performance for me, it’s a lifestyle. Something that I’m really proud of and hopefully that community grows.

Djokovic added: “Hopefully I can inspire other athletes that it is possible to be plant-based and to recover well, to have strength, to have muscles.”

‘I don’t like the labels’

Djokovic has publicly spoken about the benefits of a plant-based diet several times and has explained why doesn’t refer to himself as ‘vegan’.

“I don’t like the labels, to be honest. I do eat plant-based (food), for quite a few years already,” he said. “But because of the misinterpretations of labels and misuse of labels, I just don’t like that kind of name.”