Inside Novak Djokovic’s wacky world, from working with a spiritual guru to opposing a Covid 19 vaccination

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THERE’S no disputing his talent.

World No1 Novak Djokovic, 33, has risen to the top of the ATP rankings winning 17 Grand Slam titles in an astonishing career.

But away from the court, there’s been some choice decisions and opinions that lend more to bizarre beliefs than scientific fact.

Most recently, Djokovic caused a stir when he revealed he was opposed to a Covid-19 vaccination, if it became compulsory for tennis stars travelling the globe.

Then there was an Instagram Live chat with real estate and hedge funds dealer-turned ‘wellness guru’ Chervin Jafarieh, where the pair bizarrely discussed how you can change toxic water into drinkable water through the power of your mind.

His missus Jelena has also fallen foul to social media rules after sharing a story on Instagram that was flagged up as false information that said Covid-19 was caused by 5G.

Novak and Jelena are currently in quarantine, after it was revealed they had BOTH caught the coronavirus.

The five-time Wimbledon winner’s Adria Tour, an exhibition event in Serbia that had no social distancing rules in place, proved to be a disaster.

Three other tennis players have reportedly tested positive since, but no one is sport more high-profile than the Serb legend.

Days before his diagnosis he was spotted partying topless at a Serbian nightclub.

Earlier this year, Djokovic had revealed he was against a coronavirus vaccination, if it became a mandatory requirement for sports stars in the future.

“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 back in April in a Facebook Live chat with several other Serbian athletes.

“But if it becomes compulsory, what will happen? I will have to make a decision. I have my own thoughts about the matter and whether those thoughts will change at some point, I don’t know.”

Later, Djokovic back-peddled by insisting he was only thinking about his biggest asset – his body.

“I am no expert, but I do want to have an option to choose what’s best for my body,” he said.

“I am keeping an open mind, and I’ll continue to research on this topic because it is important and it will affect all of us.

“To be honest, just like the rest of the world I am a bit confused. Despite having access to information and resources, I am left in doubt about what could be the best thing to do.”

Matters of self-improvement and health are key to Djokovic’s mindset.

This has been developed further by a friendship with Jafarieh, the founder of wellness brand Cymbiotika.

Jafarieh believes “in a higher and divine order that is rooted in the only truth, which is love”, and Novak is swayed by his practices.

The pair took to Instagram for a live chat in a series called The Self Mastery Project, where they discussed, among other things, how one can change polluted water into drinking water and toxic foods with healthy foods, all with the power of your mind.

“It’s the connection that you’re talking about, the innate connection and really being present and being conscious of the moment and being conscious of the fact you’re drinking water,” Djokovic said.

“I’ve seen people and I know some people that, through that energetical (sic) transformation, through the power of prayer, through the power of gratitude, they manage to turn the most toxic food or the most polluted water, into the most healing water.

“Because water reacts and scientists have proven that, that molecules in the water react to our emotions, to what is being said.”

Jafarieh added: “They saw if you had specific thoughts, specific emotions onto the water, if they were happy thoughts, if they were good thoughts, they created a molecular structure that had a geo-prism based on sacred geometry meaning there was symmetry and balance.”

Pepe Imaz, a former player who nows runs a tennis academy in Spain for unprivileged kids, worked with Djokovic until 2018.

It was Imaz who reportedly turned his new student on to a vegetarian diet.

But the strangest bit of advice, which Djokovic followed to a tee, was to gesture towards the crowd more and show his love for his fans after a win.

The long, shared group hugs Novak partook in with his team were also a Imaz invention, as well as meditation that was carefully added to Djokovic’s busy training schedule.

Even though the pair don’t work together anymore, Imaz’s methods have stuck.

In last year’s Wimbledon final, the Centre Court crowd cheered on Roger Federer and roundly booed Djokovic.

How he dealt with that was a lesson clearly learned from Imaz. He pretended every time he heard someone chanting “Roger!’ they were actually cheering “Novak!”. And it worked.

A fan of holistic healing, Djokovic was plagued for years with an elbow injury.

But rather than go under the knife, he persisted and hoped it would just go away, which bothered his then-coach Andre Agassi.

“I think there was a real hope his elbow could heal naturally, holistically. I personally wasn’t a fan of that choice,” Agassi revealed.

“You can’t force someone when it comes to their own body, you have to understand their hesitations, but health is a function of taking care of your body, making the hard decisions, giving yourself the time and then moving forward methodically. Rest wasn’t going to do it in my estimation.

“When I saw the results of his MRIs in August, I was very clear with him: I advocated surgery right away, because that could end the issue once and for all.”

In 2018 Djokovic “agreed with my team that I would try different methods” to cure the elbow complaint. In other words he had surgery.

Miraculously enough, the problem was solved.

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