Djokovic's Secret Weapon - On and Off the Court (Yes it's a patch)

What's the Deal With Novak Djokovic's Nanotechnology Patch

Photograph: Getty Images; Collage: Gabe Conte

Novak Djokovic, a legend on the court and arguably the greatest tennis player of all time, is known for his superhuman flexibility. Remember those gravity-defying forehands where he contorts his body like a gymnast? Those weren't just genetics at play.

But lately, Djokovic's been reaching for something new – off the court. Following his recent Wimbledon run (a close loss to the rising star Carlos Alcaraz, by the way!), Djokovic revealed a surprising "secret weapon": nanotechnology.

Enter the TaoPatch, a nickel-sized device he sported on his chest. This patch, according to the company, utilizes nanotechnology to combine light therapy and acupuncture. Sounds impressive, right? Well, buckle up – the science behind it, and Djokovic's claims of enhanced performance, have some scratching their heads.

Let's delve into the story of Djokovic's TaoPatch, explore the science (or lack thereof), and see if it's truly a revolutionary training tool or something a little less Iron Man-esque.

Here’s what Novak’s been using to boost his performance.

The TaoPatch claims to use light therapy and acupuncture to treat disease—and improve performance on the tennis court.  

Novak Djokovic, who is probably the greatest tennis player of all time—and who recently lost his first Wimbledon final in 4 years to the young phenom Carlos Alcaraz—is known for his unreal flexibility. It allows him to make tremendous reaches on the court, somehow digging out a forehand from across the court, with his legs splayed like a gymnastic giraffe.

His most recent tremendous reach, however, was made off-court. The man with the most Grand Slam singles matches in the history of men’s tennis said he had a secret weapon: nanotechnology. Specifically, the 36-year-old (who missed several high-profile tournaments because he refused to get vaccinated) was referencing his TaoPatch, which, according to its website, is a nickel-sized “nanotechnology device that combines light therapy and acupuncture.” The device, according to Taopatch, takes your body heat and turns it “into light of specific therapeutic frequencies.”

Djokovic says it has given him an advantage on the court. Science-Based Medicine described the device as poorly studied and highly implausible. If the technology turns out to be bogus, it also seems familiar, reminiscent of the Phiten bracelets and necklaces that were popular almost a decade ago in the MLB, which promised a whole host of cures and benefits without any real proof. (In 2011, Phiten settled a class-action lawsuit for falsely advertising its health benefits for $3.2 million and agreed to remove certain statements from its advertising.)

But perhaps it's just not that deep: In May, when asked about this device, taped to his chest, Djovovich said he was trying to emulate a childhood idol, Iron Man.