Now is about the time to end the wrong notion that going vegan or eating a vegetarian diet will make us weak. Let’s take athletes, as an example. Vegan Bandit listed 10 athletes who rely on plant-based diets as their main source of nutrition. To a certain degree, it can be surprising that someone like Timothy Bradley, a world champion boxer, and a renowned bodybuilder such as Korin Sutton, are all vegetarians. These aforementioned genetically superior athletes are vegan by choice, but for tennis star, Venus Williams, it’s the other way around.
Along with her sister Serena, Venus Williams has been on the Grand Slam tennis circuit that covers a good three decades. She made her professional tour debut at the age of 14, and is still going strong up to this day; finishing first runner-up at the recently concluded Australian Open. Part of her longevity – and resurgence – can be attributed to her disciplined vegan lifestyle. In 2011, doctors diagnosed Williams with Sjorgen’s syndrome, an auto-immune disease that affects the moisture-producing glands of the body. It prompted her to become a vegetarian, then later on, go full vegan.
Today, Venus Williams strictly prefers raw, organic food. Many doubted her approach at the start, claiming that this meal plan would make her vulnerable on the court, but she proved otherwise. Williams claimed it affected her athletic ability in such a way that she moved faster and somewhat hit harder. Best of all, this change in diet helped her manage Sjorgen’s symptoms, which ultimately led to her comeback to prominence the past couple of months.
In hindsight, global tennis stars such as Venus Williams are great for the vegan community. The sport, as a whole, represents a specific culture of working hard individuals that will do anything to achieve their dreams. They’re great influencers in whatever venture they involve themselves in, from console titles such as PAM Development’s Top Spin franchise, to online games like Centre Court on the super popular Slingo website, to other digital recreations, the sport has a truly global following which transcends industries. Some, like Maria Sharapova, Daniela Hantuchova, and Caroline Wozniack have even dabbled in the fashion industry. They’re the ideal ambassadors, so to speak.
Other than Venus Williams, another famous tennis pro has gone the vegetarian route. Last year, Novak Djokovic put up a restaurant business that focuses on vegan food and its overall lifestyle. Before the grand opening of Eqvita Restaurant, the former world number one even gave his tennis pals Andy Murray and Fabio Fognini a preview of the plant-based dishes the concept bistro has to offer. The Monaco restaurant’s vegan fare looks delightful – also dispelling the notion that vegetarian dishes are bland – with a range of vibrant meals from locally sourced goods. Furthermore, Eqvita Restaurant serves cold-pressed juices and has lovely ambient music.
For Venus Williams, going vegan means treating a particular disease, prolonging her playing career, and ultimately becoming stronger. On the flipside, Novak Djokovic is geared towards this lifestyle by his passion for eating healthy and promoting his cause. The two tennis influencers may have rather different objectives, but at the end of the day, they represent what veganism is all about.