What’s behind the success of Novak Djokovic, the world’s no. 1 ranked tennis star? Intense training, to be sure. A gluten-free diet, too. And, as detailed in a sprawling Sports Illustrated feature recently, a childhood spent at a gruelling tennis academy in his native Serbia.
But the three-time major winner also has an unconventional trick up his sleeve. Several times a week, the 24-year-old sits in an egg-like pressurized chamber, which simulates high altitude and helps compress the muscles at rhythmic intervals. It is – at the surface, at least – bizarre. Yet the high-tech compartment works for Djokovic, and certainly he isn’t the only sports pro to prepare for his craft in an unconventional way