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Djokovic eats grass after Wimbledon victory

By Barry Neild for CNN
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Djokovic on eating Wimbledon's grass
  • Novak Djokovic celebrates Wimbledon victory by eating piece of grass
  • Former champion Boris Becker describes Serbian's celebration as "unique"
  • Nutritionist says eating grass is not advisable

London (CNN) -- Tennis star Novak Djokovic's unusual grass-eating celebration proved a gift to headline writers a day after he was crowned Wimbledon champion, but raised eyebrows elsewhere.

Djokovic sank to his knees and nibbled a piece of the Center Court lawn on Sunday after beating Rafael Nadal to win the men's singles title, later saying: "I felt like an animal. I wanted to see how it tastes."

Britain's newspapers seized upon the bizarre ritual. The tabloid Sun newspaper labeled the Serbian a "Chompion," while the Daily Telegraph shared the moment that "Djokovic tastes Wimbledon glory." "Djokovic laps up blades of glory" said the Express.

Wimbledon legend Boris Becker described Djokovic's celebration as "unique."

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"It's not the strangest I've seen, but it's certainly a first," Germany's three-time winner told CNN. "I've seen people kiss the ground, I've seen people roll on the ground and I've seen people stomp on the ground with their feet, but I've never seen anyone do that."

In the United States, Djokovic's grassy snack drew comparisons with Les Miles, the coach of the Louisiana State University football team, who has been known to munch on the turf at his team's Tiger Stadium.

Miles offered his verdict on the tennis player's celebration on Twitter, posting: "I hear Wimbledon champ likes eating grass too. Hope he enjoyed it. Nothing beats Tiger Stadium grass though."

Dietary experts say that athletes hoping to emulate Djokovic's success should be warned that grass isn't recommended as a breakfast, lunch or dinner of champions.

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"My first worry is that the grass at Wimbledon might be treated with all sort of chemicals -- it certainly isn't organic," said Carina Norris, a doctor of nutrition.

"Humans are really not designed to absorb and digest nutrients from grass, which is high in fibre and silica. I do not recommend that he makes it a regular part of his diet.

"Sheep and cows have specially-designed teeth and digestive systems for eating grass."

There's no suggestion yet that grass will replace strawberries and cream as the traditional flavor of Wimbledon, or that Djokovic will make it a permanent fixture of his gluten-free diet, but the the player insists he savored his slice of Center Court.

"The grass tasted quite well, really," he said "It was well kept. It tasted good!"

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