Boffo at the men’s tennis box office: Attack of the Pod Person, starring Novak Djokovic.
From Monday’s Wall Street Journal:
Novak Djokovic’s Secret: Sitting in a Pressurized Egg
Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic hasn’t earned his No. 1 ranking by taking the conventional road. There’s his odd ritual of excessive ball bouncing before serves, which can break an opponent’s concentration. There’s his new gluten-free diet, which he’s said has helped him feel stronger on the court.
But now there’s something truly weird: the CVAC Pod.
Ever since last year’s U.S. Open, Djokovic has been trying to improve his fitness by climbing into a rare $75,000 egg-shaped, bobsled-sized pressure chamber.
The contraption is a hyperbaric chamber on steroids, “[using] a computer-controlled valve and a vacuum pump to simulate high altitude and compress the muscles at rhythmic intervals.”
It’s not illegal, and it’s not widely available (there are only 20 of them). And many tennis observers say it’s no big deal. But, the Journal reports, its maker “claims that the technology may be twice as effective at helping the body absorb oxygen as blood doping—a banned form of performance enhancement.”
Conclusion #1: Djokovic was a djope to admit he uses this podformance-enhancing device.
Conclusion #2: It could become his own personal asterisk attached to future victories.
Conclusion #3: You really should read the Journal every day.