Only a handful of tennis players are vegan currently
With time, games such as tennis have become more professional that has seen many switching to vegan diets in order to remain healthy and succeed at the highest level.
Studies have disclosed that there are plenty of benefits from ditching dairy, meat and eggs. This has resulted in many top athletes abstaining from such animal products and turning vegan.
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet. It is an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals while a follower of the philosophy is known as a vegan.
It isn’t easy to switch diets, especially for sportspeople. The need for muscle and mass can be provided by protein, which is mostly provided by meat. However, veganism seems to be catching on around the world, and there are many in the realm of sports taking up this lifestyle.
With many top athletes now changing their past habits by turning vegan and still excelling, let’s take a quick look at some of the vegan tennis players.
1) Venus Williams
A seven-time singles Grand Slam winner, Venus Williams, now 41, adopted a raw vegan diet after she was diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome back in 2011.
She converted to veganism after advice from her doctors, who suggested that she would be relieved of some of her symptoms such as extreme fatigue and joint pain. Venus, a few years back during an interview with Health Magazine revealed her reasons for converting to veganism.
“I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, and I wanted to maintain my performance on the court. Once I started, I fell in love with the concept of fueling your body in the best way possible [through raw, vegan food].
“Not only does it help me on the court, but I feel like I’m doing the right thing for me,” Venus explained.
Williams, while speaking to Women’s Health also provided an idea of how her day goes and what she eats. The former world no.1 did explain the difficulties in following the vegan diet in the early days of the switch. However, shakes seem to be her go to, especially on the courts.
“I take it to the court with me,” she says. “When I’m ready to refuel and I’m losing energy before I get to that point, I’m taking sips. That way I can last the full practice.”
She was also generous enough to share one of her favourite shakes.
2) Serena Williams
Venus’ sister and another legend of the game Serena Williams is believed to follow a mostly vegan diet after seeing her sister ill. Together they both tried a lot of raw foods and smoothies.
However, the record 23-time Grand Slam champion does not follow a rigorous or strict vegan diet. In an article published in Hungry Forever, Serena was quoted saying:
“I think it’s just really goof to clean out your system sometimes just to get rid of all the waste and things like that that are just in your system and let the earth from the plants really clean you out. So I’m a big believer in that.”
Serena, like her sister, was more than happy to share what she enjoys to eat in her new diet. She also named avocados and beef as two items that she just does not like. However, she did mention that she wants to have a healthy lifestyle and that has played a part in her diet.
“I want to have a healthy lifestyle and, so you know, [I’m eating] a lot of greens and mostly plant-based lately, just super healthy stuff.”
3) Martina Navratilova
A champion of the game of tennis with 18 Grand Slam titles to her name Martina Navratilova is a name familiar to all. She busted the myth that athletes need to eat good meat to be successful by performing consistently
After converting to veganism at the peak of her career, Navratilova was able to prolong her career and still compete at the highest level. She is also an avid supporter of PETA – (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).
4) Novak Djokovic
Djokovic switched to a vegan, gluten-free diet after collapsing midway through a match. The Serb, after winning the 2019 Wimbledon title, revealed that his on-court performances had improved since he made a shift to plant-based diets.
“I do eat plant-based. I think that’s one of the reasons why I recover well.”
However, it seems that Djokovic isn’t keen on being labelled as a vegan, even though he uses plant-based food. His wife, Jelena, has stated that she isn’t the reason why he switched diets. Nevertheless, the Serbian is one of the best in the world, and maybe, his diet can extend his time on the court.
5) Nick Kyrgios
Not a name that many would expect in the list. Still, the ‘bad boy’ of tennis recently became vegan due to a disaster.
Kyrgios was devastated by the loss of animal life during the Australia bushfires early this year.
He participated in fund-raising campaigns and said that it was his love and passion for animals which triggered him to become vegan.
“I don’t eat meat or dairy anymore. That’s not for my health, I just don’t believe in eating animals,” Kyrgios said while speaking to Athlete’s voice blog.
“Seeing the footage of these animals suffering with the fires only reinforces why I’ve chosen this diet. When I see these terrible photos, I can’t comprehend eating meat.”
While Kyrgios has often been called out for his statements and actions on the court, there is no doubt he deserves some credit for switching his diet and going vegan.
6) Bernard Tomic
Bernard Tomic might not be the biggest name on this list but the Australian’s decision to go vegan was based on Djokovic doing the same.
Tomic has had his controversial moments during his tennis career, but the Aussie certainly gets a few points for taking a healthy route.
Speaking on the Functional Tennis Podcast, Tomic revealed why he turned vegan (h/t News.com.au):
“You know, I wasn’t very professional with the outside stuff I was doing, with the eating, with the training obviously.
“I changed to vegan two and a half, three years ago and I love it, it’s an amazing feeling.”
Tomic also spoke about Djokovic during the interview and even brought up meat during this session:
“I got inspired actually by Novak, so it was something I tried and it worked for me. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to eating anything else so I’m a proud vegan.”
“The taste of meat, don’t get me wrong, it’s unbelievable but like I don’t miss it because there’s animals involved and I’m all about that.
“I mean I believe in Karma, you know you do the right thing and there’s always something around.
“It’s not just that but for my health as well. I mean my health has overall gone a lot better in the last couple of years.”
Tomic has had his fair share of injuries in recent years, and is making a comeback in 2022 in hopes of making a big impact on the courts.
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