Novak Djokovic has often been seen eating the grass at Wimbledon and one has often wondered why would arguably the world’s best male tennis player indulge in this exercise. In this piece below we explain what goes on when Djokovic puts a piece of that hallowed turf in his mouth.
So why does Djokovic eat grass at Wimbledon? According to the multiple-time Grand Slam winner, eating grass is a part of a tradition Djokovic cultivated after having dreamt of winning Wimbledon as a seven-eight-year-old kid and calls it the sweetest possible dessert one could have.
More on how this tradition started for Djokovic and what has transpired between then and now as the Serb continues to inspire tennis players all around the world with his spectacular growth on the court here.
History Behind Djokovic’s Grass Eating Habit
It was at the 2011 Wimbledon that the second seeded Djokovic went on to win the title, his first on the courts SW19 and his third Grand Slam overall.
The second seeded player from Serbia defeated the top seed Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 in the final to lift the Wimbledon trophy, but before he did that, Djokovic had sunk to his knees in complete shock.
And moments after that, he had stunned the onlooking British crowd by plucking a few strands of grass from the hallowed turf of the Centre Court and putting them into his mouth.
What looked to be a one-off, spur-of-the-moment reaction from Djokovic on that eventful London evening, later turned out to be a tradition he has continued till this date.
Each of the following few times Djokovic has gone on to win the Wimbledon title – and the count had risen to a whopping six by 2021 – the Serb has bent down to taste that same sweet success of the Wimbledon grass.
So Why Does Djokovic Eat the Wimbledon Grass?
As mentioned earlier, there’s bit of a tradition involved in Djokovic’s munching at the grass; you do want to keep repeating what you did the first time you achieved a particular success, right?
But let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth what kick-started this tradition in 2011?
When Djokovic was asked way back after his first ever Wimbledon triumph, he replied:
“I didn’t know what to do from the emotions that I had at that moment.”
“It was an incredible feeling so the tasting of the grass came spontaneously. It tasted really good!”
So yes, Djokovic did admit it was a reaction that was born out of sheer emotions, the relief he felt after winning what he had always dreamed of winning.
Djokovic confirmed this following his 2018 win at Wimbledon, where he routed Kevin Anderson in the final lift the trophy for the fifth time.
The Serb said:
“It’s a little tradition obviously. As a kid I was dreaming of winning Wimbledon, so, like every child, you dream of doing something crazy when you actually achieve it — if you achieve it — and that was one of the things.”
He also explained what winning Wimbledon meant to him, especially growing up as a kid.
Djokovic said when he was seven or eight years old and still learning his trade, he would make small trophies out of whatever he could find himself at home and lift them “in front of the mirror”.
The legendary tennis player would visualize himself to be a Wimbledon champion, something he managed to achieve multiple times over.
He also went on to explain that during such times, one of the other things he imagined was chewing away at the Wimbledon grass.
Djokovic added there was one other reason why he chose to munch on the grass at Wimbledon. He wanted it to stay in the memory of everyone watching in the tennis world.
And giving credence to the fact Djokovic is rightly called the Djoker in the tennis world, the Serb said:
“I was thinking about jumping, spinning, different ways of celebration but I don’t know why. I just thought that having a little bit of taste of the grass would be a funny thing and it became a tradition.”
He went on to say:
“For some reason, I don’t know why I picked that [eating grass]. The first time I’ve done it, it was the sweetest dessert I’ve ever tasted in my life.”
When queried how does the Wimbledon grass taste, Djokovic called it the ‘best freaking grass in the world’ – and why not, given how well Wimbledon maintains its grass too!
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Final Words on Tennis Players Eating Grass
The legend of Djokovic eating the Wimbledon grass stems from all those years ago when he dreamed of doing so as a kid as he visualized himself lifting that trophy.
When Djokovic actually won the Wimbledon title for the first time, he went on to fulfill that celebration he had imagined from all those years ago as a kid.
To top that, he realized his celebration was noticed by the entire world, including the media who asked him about it and in turn he has turned it into a personalized celebration post winning Wimbledon – having chewed at it every single time Djokovic lifted the cup.