After winning the semi-final match at the Australian Open, tennis champion Novak Djokovic credited his plant-based diet for helping him succeed as a professional athlete, explaining that his choice to eschew animal products is based on ethical beliefs. “I’m very pleased to be plant-based and play at this level,” Djokovic said during a press conference. “There’s been a lot of criticism. People around me didn’t really think that I could do that. There was a lot of doubt and a lot of question marks.” Last year, while following a fully plant-based diet, the Serbian-born tennis player won his fifth Wimbledon title, beating former champion Roger Federer in the four-hour-long match—the longest single’s final game in Wimbledon history. The 32-year-old athlete—who is one of the executive producers of vegan documentary The Game Changers—explained that his dedication to veganism goes beyond a plant-based diet. “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,” Djokovic said. “The slaughtering of animals and farming and everything, that’s obviously also a huge impact on climate change which maybe people don’t talk about as much. It’s more than a performance reason for me, it’s a lifestyle, it’s something I’m really proud of. Hopefully, that community grows even more; hopefully, I can inspire other athletes that it is possible to be plant-based.” On February 2, Djokovic will take on 26-year-old Austrian player Dominic Thiem for the men’s singles final match at the Australian Open. Following in Djokovic’s footsteps, fellow professional tennis player Nick Kyrgios recently revealed that he has adopted a vegan lifestyle after witnessing the mass suffering of animals during Australia’s ongoing wildfires. 

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