Djokovic’s 15-year ‘friendship’ with a tree in Melbourne


Novak Djokovic has a long list of unusual methods that apparently helped him become one of the best tennis players ever, including a 15-year “special friendship” with a tree in Melbourne, Australia.

The world number one player, who follows a plant-based diet, sings of the effectiveness of meditation and has previously also made use of a spiritual guru. He has never been shy about his eccentricities.

With his eye on an unprecedented 11th Australian Open title, he again visited his “old friend”, a fig tree in Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Garden. He likes to hug and climb this tree.

“It’s true, it’s true. There is one particular tree with which I have a special relationship, so to speak, for the past 15 years,” he said on Wednesday evening. “I love every corner of the botanical garden. I think it is an incredible treasure for Melbourne to have such a park and nature in the middle of the city.

“There is a specific tree, I cannot reveal which one, because I would like to keep it a secret for when I am there to spend time with myself. I love connecting with that old friend.”

Djokovic won his first Grand Slam title at the 2008 Australian Open and has been a regular visitor to Melbourne ever since.

When asked why he likes this particular tree, he replies: “I just liked it. I loved its roots and the branches and the trunk and everything. So I started climbing the tree years ago. That’s it. I have a connection with it.”

He emphasized earlier in the tournament that he is not superstitious. “But of course I like to visit certain places that have brought me happiness in the past. To just be myself in nature, to come back to earth, to hug trees, climb trees and so on. I don’t know if this is the secret of my success here in Australia, but it makes me feel good.”

The Serbian’s love for the unusual makes him different from his peers, who follow a more ordinary lifestyle.

He has previously talked about the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and healing “pyramids” while meditating with Spanish guru Pepe Imaz. Imaz is a former journeyman who pursues a “love and peace” philosophy.

The 36-year-old Djokovic has also followed various diets, including gluten-free and dairy-free, and is now a proud “plant-based athlete” – the subject of a Netflix documentary, The Game Changersof which he is also an executive producer.

In addition to his sporting prowess, he is also known for his humanitarian work and made headlines when he argued that it is possible to change the composition of water and food through the power of positive thinking.