Novak Djokovic’s bizarre habit of seemingly inhaling the contents of a drinks bottle during his Wimbledon quarter-final match has caused a stir among tennis fans.
The men’s top seed, who plays Britain’s hopeful Cameron Norrie for a spot in the final, has been the subject of debate on social media after he was seen inhaling from a drinks bottle during a change of sides.
The Serb appeared to be glancing at his support crew during his round of 16 win over Tim van Rijthoven before seemingly inhaling the contents rather than drinking them.
One fan said: “I would really like to know what was in that bottle. It certainly wasn’t liquid, and he pointed to his trainer before inhaling. Very funny.’
Corresponding The Telegraph, The Serbian star, 35, is one of many pro players who choose to take neat energy supplements or isotonic powder during games.
“You wouldn’t really benefit from doing it during gameplay, but I’m sure it’s isotonic,” a source told the publication.
“Many players have started eating powder, even isotonic powder, before training.
An unnamed source quoted by The Telegraph said Novak Djokovic, 35, is one of many pro players who choose to ingest neat energy drinks or isotonic powder during games (pictured).
Fans were confused by what Djokovic took out of the drinks bottle when changing sides
Similar appearance to washing powder
Quickly replenishes carbohydrate/energy levels
Usually taken dissolved in water and drunk either before or during exercise
Common in endurance sports when energy levels drop and need to be replenished
Isotonic supplements vary in strength depending on the intensity and duration of exercise
“They started eating it without water. It’s mostly pre-workout stuff because it gives you a kick.
“I imagine it’s disgusting in the throat. It’s weird, but it’s what they do.’
Isotonic powder is easily digested and quickly replenishes carbohydrates when energy levels need to stay high during such elite and intense competition.
Such supplements are usually taken by dissolving the powder in water and then drinking it either before or during exercise to ensure the body is able to perform at its maximum. Taken with water, it mitigates the metallic taste and rehydrates the body.
Isotonic products can be used to recharge energy levels prior to performance or are commonly used during endurance sports to restore energy lost during exercise.
The strength of the supplements varies depending on the intensity and duration of the workout.
It is common for tennis players to consume nutritious beverages and snacks throughout the game, particularly as they complete the five-set distance.
Djokovic was indeed involved in a five-set thriller as tennis fans started commenting about squeezing something out of a plastic bottle, with the straight-set No. 1 coming back to beat Jannik Sinner 5-7 2-6-6 . 3, 6-2, 6-2.
Djokovic plays Britain’s Cameron Norrie in the Wimbledon semifinals after beating Jannik Sinner
One fan said on Twitter: “If he was doping I’m sure he would be doing it on Center Court, in front of the crowd, the referee and countless millions of TV viewers right there” followed by three laughing crying face emojis .
While another said: “I’m not suggesting doping or whatsoever, just interested in what it really is and have never seen a player inhale anything during their match. Must be something new.’
The top seed faced similar questions at the Australian Open two years ago, joking: “The liquids were potions my physiotherapist made up in his lab” when asked what was in his water bottle.
Djokovic is gluten intolerant and has an incredibly strict diet. He changed his diet after blood tests showed difficulty digesting wheat and dairy.
He encouraged smoothies, drank water and avoided all confectionery – there was once a story where Djokovic, after not eating chocolate for 18 months, melted a single cube on his tongue before he was full.
Djokovic is now two wins away from a 21st Grand Slam title, with his 20th Major coming at Wimbledon last year.
With his continued vaccination stance unlikely to grace US Open spots, the All England Club is emerging as the last venue this year where Djokovic could potentially equal Rafael Nadal’s tally of 21 career Grand Slams can.
World No. 4 Nadal takes on polarizing Australian Nick Kyrgios in the other semi-final on Friday for a Wimbledon playoff berth.