So, is Novak MORE controversial than Nick? Tennis star who’s denounced Covid vaccines insists positive thoughts can PURIFY water – while his wacky wife Jelena believes 5G caused the pandemic
- Novak Djokovic is through to the Wimbledon final after battling through contest
- He is set to go head-to-head with controversial Nick Kyrgios during the final
- However Novak has faced plenty of his own controversial episode in his life
- Wife Jelena, 35, has also courted controversy, spreading conspiracies online
- In April 2020, she shared a conspiracy video about 5G causing coronavirus
Novak Djokovic’s status as one of this century’s greatest athletes is undisputed – although his beliefs as to how he got there, may prompt a little more questioning.
The fanatical quest to continually improve himself as a tennis player is mirrored by an obsessive curiosity about how best to curate his physical and mental well-being. At times it has dragged him into the realms of faddism and quackery, sometimes dangerously so.
Tomorrow he faces one of his greatest tests in battling Nick Kyrgios in the Wimbledon final – without a doubt one of the most controversial players in this year’s tournament.
However Novak hasn’t been without controversy himself – famously denouncing vaccinations, arguing that ‘Bosnian pyramids’ near Sarajevo give off a mystical energy, and positive thoughts can purify water.
And just like her husband, Jelena, 35, has a series of unusual beliefs – and is no stranger to controversy after she shared conspiracy theories online with her thousands of Instagram followers.
In April 2020, Instagram posted a ‘false information’ tag on her stories after she shared a conspiracy video about 5G causing coronavirus.
The mother-of-two, who met her husband when they were teenagers, describes herself as ‘open-minded’ with a ‘never satiating hunger for knowledge’ on her blog.
Novak Djokovic ‘s quest to continually improve himself as a tennis player is mirrored by an obsessive curiosity about how best to curate his physical and mental well-being (pictured)
His unusual behaviour has already caused a stir at the contest, when the sports star was seen appearing to inhale a powder from his water bottle
Just like her husband, Jelena, 35, has a series of unusual beliefs – and is no stranger to controversy after she shared conspiracy theories online with her thousands of Instagram followers.
Tree-hugging Novak and his wife Jelena both have an obsessive curiosity about how best to curate their physical and mental well-being – with her sharing conspiracy theories online (pictured left and right)
Among the snaps Novak recently shared on Instagram was a photograph as he took to the tennis court – while blindfolded
Writing online, Jelena explained: ‘I am changing and transforming at such a pace that it is really hard to label me or put me in one definite box.
‘I am everywhere and NOWhere. Misunderstood and fully appreciated.’
‘All of my research revolves around finding the answer on this simple question “How to live a healthy life with purpose?”
‘I look for answers in different books on psychology, self-help, business, entrepreneurship, spirituality, and nutrition. I will share my findings and takeaways, as I have learned by now that the best way to memorize the new things we find is to write them down.
Djokovic and his wife Jelena live in Monte Carlo with their two children Tara, two, and Stefan, five
Jelena’s blog features posts about how she learned to mediate in Ecuador, links to controversial vegan documentary Cowspiracy and shares tips on ‘how to find your true self’ (pictured with Novak)
‘The beauty of being a seeker of knowledge is that you can take any path you’d like. There is no right or wrong, there is just a process of learning and shaping and growing. It can take you anywhere.
‘As my blog grows, we will see where this path will take me and I’ll do my best to share with you what I learn so that we may both grow together’.
Her blog features posts about how she learned to mediate in Ecuador, links to controversial vegan documentary Cowspiracy and shares tips on ‘how to find your true self’
But these ‘knowledge’ she’s seeks (and shares) sometimes has little ground in reality.
In April 2020, Instagram posted a ‘false information’ tag on her stories after she shared a conspiracy video about 5G causing coronavirus.
The mother-of-two, and childhood sweetheart of Novak, often shares snaps of the couple exploring nature (pictured) with her Instagram followers
Soon after the pandemic broke out, Novak took part in a live Facebook discussion with other Serbian sportspeople in which he said he is ‘opposed to vaccinations’
From running a charity foundation to sharing conspiracy theories online: The world of Novak’s VERY wacky wife
In the early days of her relationship with Novak, Jelena was a successful model, starring in several high profile campaigns
The childhood sweethearts married in July 2014 in the grounds of Montenegro’s exclusive Aman Sveti Stefan resort.
Jelena, who was pregnant at the time with the couple’s first child, wore a dressed designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.
In the early days of her relationship with Novak, Jelena was a successful model, starring in several high profile campaigns.
But Jelena is just as much brains as beauty – she graduated from university in Milan with a Masters degree and is now working the director’s of the Novak Foundation, which invests in pre-school education in Serbia.
Jelena helps to run the Novak Djokovic Foundation, which raises money for childhood education and inclusive early education programmes for children disadvantaged communities.
She’s also often spotted courtside, and struggles to keep a poker face.
She regularly appear on the brink of tears or reacts angrily to the decisions made by the umpire.
Jelena once said of her inability to control her emotions during competitions: ‘You can get very passionate when watching your boyfriend from the players’ box.
‘We just want them to be happy. You don’t want to see them in pain. If they are not happy, neither are you.’
The mother-of-two, and childhood sweetheart of Novak, posted a 10-minute video of US-based Dr Thomas Cowan which falsely explained that 5G played a role in creating the coronavirus pandemic.
She was heavily criticised for spreading ‘fake news’ given her platform to reach almost half a million people through Instagram.
Instagram made the decision to step in through what they call ‘independent fact checkers’ and the video is now covered by a ‘False Information’ screen whenever anyone visits her profile.
She later clarified her position in a statement, insisting that she has taken an interest in the field, rather than explicitly endorsed the theory at this point as she is ‘not claiming to be true or not’.
‘I shared the video a few days ago for one reason only – it mentions the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, which is relevant to my area of interest and business, and hence my interest in this video was larger than the sea of other content I get,’ the statement, shared by EssentiallySports, read.
‘Specifically, Steiner schools and kindergartens are located in 76 countries (Waldorf schools) and for some time I have been meeting with their work and studying the curriculum. Steiner’s philosophy and work on biodynamic agriculture have encouraged me to learn more, which I have devoted myself to in recent months.
‘So, it makes sense to me, I’m not claiming to be true or not, but I’m certainly interested in learning and getting informed about it.’
Just two years ago, he took part in a live Facebook discussion with other Serbian sportspeople in which he denounced vaccines.
‘Personally I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel,’ he said. ‘But if it becomes compulsory, what will happen? I will have to make a decision.’
Meanwhile he hit headlines last year after he announced he had circumvented vaccine requirements for an undisclosed reason, and was heading for Australia.
The cocksure nature of his social media post was ill-judged, and invited the ire of a population who have been subjected to more lockdowns than anywhere in the world. He possesses not just an extraordinary athletic ability, but a giant pair of tin ears.
This brutal collision with public opinion – not to mention opportunistic Australian politicians – has been a long time coming, a course plotted since the onset of the pandemic.
The roots of his beliefs on health are entrenched beyond Covid, back to the beginning of the last decade. It was then that he diagnosed himself as having a wheat allergy by pressing a slice of bread into his stomach.
Always a profound thinker with a sharp mind – he has taught himself to converse in seven languages, for example – the more success he has had, the more interested he has become in the workings of body and spirit.
Jelena has been heavily criticised for spreading ‘fake news’ given her platform to reach almost half a million people through Instagram
In 2016 he began working with Spanish coach Pepe Imaz, a strong believer in meditation whose theories extend to, literally, the power of hugging trees.
He instituted the ‘peace and love’ gestures that accompany the Serb’s post-match victories.
When Djokovic began developing elbow problems the following year he tried holistic cures before eventually opting for conventional surgery.
He later revealed that he cried for three days afterwards, at his failure to solve the issue through natural medicine.
By then he was already a strong believer in using hyperbaric chambers – where his body is exposed to pure oxygen at a much higher pressure than normal – actually bringing a mobile version on a lorry to be parked up at Flushing Meadows for the US Open.
Djokovic is obsessed with holistic cures and once revealed he cried for three days after he had conventional surgery
Djokovic thinks the ‘Bosnian pyramids’ near Sarajevo give off a mystical energy; here Semir Osmanagic, an archaeologist famous for his unorthodox theories on them, stands near one
It was not until the virus stopped the world in its tracks that the full extent of his left-field views became more evident.
After his Facebook exchange – which earned him a public rebuke from one of Serbia’s leading epidemiologists – he participated in live Instagram feeds with his friend, self-styled health entrepreneur Chervin Jafarieh.
At one point they promoted the idea that the power of positive thought could cleanse polluted water into the kind that was safely drinkable.
And then came his organisation of the ill-fated Adria Tour, a series of exhibitions around the Balkans which stuck two fingers up at any Covid restrictions. Amid nightclub carousing and close quarters games of basketball many of its participants – including Djokovic and his wife – tested positive for the virus.
Jelena was given a ‘false information’ label by Instagram last year after sharing a conspiracy theory that 5G has helped cause coronavirus
Djokovic’s online chats with Chevrin Jafarieh (bottom) became notorious in the pandemic
The experience chastened him, but it has not dampened his enthusiasm for spiritual searching. He is, for instance, a regular visitor to the ‘Bosnian pyramids’ which some believe give off a mystic energy.
These are a set of pointed hills which a local archaeologist claims are man-made, an idea condemned as a complete hoax by other experts.
Away from the sport’s rectangles many have already condemned him, although his views on vaccines are more nuanced than sometimes portrayed.
At the ATP Tour event in Belgrade earlier last year, which he and his family own, he arranged for those who wanted the jab to be able to get it on site.
The Serbian (far right) hosted the ill-fated Adria Tour event in the middle of the pandemic – and it had to be ended prematurely after a number of the players contracted the virus
Djokovic (left centre) and fellow tennis stars partied in a Belgrade nightclub in June 2020, with some of the players taking their shirts off during the riotous evening
It should also be said that no athlete is recorded as having given more to charity through the pandemic than he has done.
There is also his work in trying to drive through a tennis players’ union at no gain to himself, being as wealthy as he is.
He has always insisted that his vaccine stance is about freedom of choice and what someone puts inside their body.
Meanwhile his unusual beliefs have already hit the headlines once during this year’s contest.
His bizarre habit of seemingly inhaling contents from a drinks bottle in his Wimbledon quarter-final match created quite a stir among tennis fans.
The Serb appeared to look towards his support crew sitting courtside during his last-16 win over Tim van Rijthoven before seemingly breathing in the contents rather than drinking them.
Djokovic lashed away a ball in anger at a line judge in the 2020 US Open fourth round
After hitting line judge Laura Clark in the throat, the world No 1 was disqualified from the event
According to The Telegraph, the Serbian star, 35, is one of many professional players opting to take unmixed energy supplements or isotonic powder during matches.
‘You wouldn’t really get any benefit from doing it mid-match, but I’m sure this is isotonic,’ a source told the publication.
‘A lot of players have started eating powder, even pre-workout isotonic powder
‘They’ve started eating it without water. It’s mainly pre-workout stuff because it gives them a buzz.
‘I imagine it’s disgusting in the throat. It’s weird, but it is what they are doing.’
Isotonic powder is easily digestible and replenishes carbohydrates quickly when energy levels need to remain high during such elite and intense competition.
Djokovic is gluten intolerant and has an incredibly strict diet. He changed his diet after blood tests showed difficulties with digesting wheat and dairy.
He promoted smoothies, drinking water, avoiding all confectionary products – there was once a story where Djokovic, after not having chocolate for 18 months, had one singular cube melt on his tongue before he was satisfied.
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