Sunday, October 30, 2011

Djokovic, Dr. Igor, and William Nelson (Updated #3)

Earlier this year, there was much ado about Novak Djokovic's remarkable physical improvement, starting with his victory at the Australian Open. The New York Times ran a piece about Djokovic that made numerous references to his team, including a Dr. Igor Cetojevic. Dr. Cetojevic is credited with uncovering Djokovic's apparent "gluten allergy" and helping out with the mental part of Novak's game.

The article notes that Djokovic indicated "that Cetojevic has played a significant and wide-ranging role in recent months." Djokovic is quoted as referring to Cetojevic as "a great psychologist" and a "great doctor."

The article also delves a little into Cetojevic's profile:
Cetojevic’s Web site says that he holds a diploma from the Indian Institute of Magnetotherapy in New Delhi and that he specializes in working with advanced biofeedback systems, including S.C.I.O., or Scientific Conscious Interface Operator, a device that measures 16 “standard electrical parameters of the body” in an attempt to detect and treat areas of stress or imbalance and can be used to help combat allergies.
Unfortunately, the article delves no further and offers no comment on the "SCIO" device. I find this odd, because on the face of it, the SCIO device described sounds, to put it politely, a little too good to be true. And the fact is, a little Googling should have resulted in a totally different story being written.

First, according to media reports, "Cetojevic said he used a SCIO bio-feedback machine - basically attaching some wires to a person and connecting them to a computer - to study the effects that food has on Djokovic's body. He saw that the gluten was "through the roof," and knew he needed to do something about it."
Let's take a look at Dr. Igor's webpage:
Who's William Nelson? That's a whole story in itself. Here's some excerpts from a 2007 article from the Seattle Times titled "How one man's invention is part of a growing worldwide scam that snares the desperately ill":

There are plenty of other sites about SCIO/QXCI/EPFX and William Nelson on the web, if one was inclined to spend a few minutes on Google.

Is it really possible that no tennis journalist could bother doing simple research? What does this say about the quality of reporting?

And what does this whole story say about Djokovic's judgement?


UPDATE #1: Offered without comment. It's a promotional video for the "SCIO" device.


A Canadian investigative journalism show did a feature on the EPFX/SCIO machine and went to Budapest to interview William Nelson. The interactions with Nelson are interesting, to say the least.

You would think the media would want to set the record straight on all of this, since they gave Dr. Cetojevic and the SCIO device a lot of free press this year. And, as for Djokovic's "gluten" problems, you'd think he'd want to get a second opinion, no?


Found something else. It appears to be SCIO promotional material built around Djokovic's success this year.

This situation raises a number of questions:

1. Is Djokovic aware that he is being used to promote the SCIO device? I tweeted him the document and the youtube video. He hasn't responded.

2. Is the ITF aware of this stuff? I tweeted them, too. No response.

3. Is the ATP aware of this stuff? Tweeted them, too. No response.

4. Why is the media not reporting anything? The media has a public interest obligation to tell the whole story because it is possible that some people may have, or are thinking of, buying a SCIO device (or getting some treatment with one) because of the association of Djokovic.

5. Is the SCIO the only method used to diagnose Djokovic's gluten "allergy"?

6. What's up with Djokovic and devices? He's at two now: CVAC and SCIO.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. It seems Djokovic might have figured out that Cetojevic was a joke since he dropped him from his team this summer.

  3. Although Djokovic has not yet denounced Cetojevic, I think he has now seen through him. Cetojevic has probably fooled wiser people before. This however does not mean that cutting down on the carbs has been of no benefit to Djokovic. The gluten story has been a circus largely driven by the media - and beyond Djokovic's control. I think that Djokovic has found it an amusing distraction.

    SEPTEMBER 13, 2011

    “Put it this way,” he said, when asked what he had eaten before the match [Mens Final]. “Last night I didn’t have any gluten. Tonight I will have a lot of gluten. And alcohol.”

    Read more

  4. I have no knowledge of the EPFX, but being persecuted by the FDA does not of itself make you a criminal or a fraud - many offering genuine therapies that help sick people but threaten the medico-pharmaceutical industry have been prosecuted and/or forced out of the US, while dangerous drugs continue to be approved. But whether Dr IC is genuine or not, he seems to have little to do with Djoker's unreal form - especially as that has continued since Dr IC was dropped. Was he by any chance a cover for another practitioner who prescribes something slightly more pharmaceutical?

  5. I doubt Djokovic would ever "denounce" Cetojevic, that wouldn't serve any purpose unless some particularly bad news were to come out about him. It's telling enough that Djokovic dropped him from his team.

  6. amaranth I challenge you to back up this statement with examples:

    "many offering genuine therapies that help sick people but threaten the medico-pharmaceutical industry have been prosecuted and/or forced out of the US"

  7. Also note the specifics of WHY Nelson was charged. He was not prohibited by the FDA from selling his device, he was prohibited from making specific claims about its capabilities for diagnosing and healing which he continued to do regardless.

  8. I can think of several good examples right now, Swoon, but if I were to list them this would escalate into a discussion of those examples, irrelevant to this blog (let's face it, you won't believe me, will you?). You can look them up yourself if you're interested. My point was not primarily about that anyway. The point was that Dr IC seems to have little or nothing to do with the Djoker's form this past year. So who is responsible for it? That is the real question.

  9. amaranth said...
    The point was that Dr IC seems to have little or nothing to do with the Djoker's form this past year. So who is responsible for it? That is the real question.

    The magic egg-pod machine?

  10. 2011 - Testing Numbers By Sport

    Tennis: Total number of tests for Quarter 1 + Quarter 2, 2011, both In and Out Of Competition = ONE!

  11. 2010 USADA Testing Statistics
    Sport: Tennis
    Quarter: All
    Total Tests: 3
    No. of Athletes Tested: 2
    Athletes Tested:
    Wayne Odesnik, No. of tests: 2
    Sam Querrey, No. of Tests:1


  12. 2011 USADA Testing Statistics
    Sport: Tennis
    Quarter: All
    Total Tests: 1
    No. of Athletes Tested: 1
    Athletes Tested:Andrew S Roddick, No. of tests: 1


  13. New Roger Federer cartoon at:

  14. Serena dodges a random drug test?

  15. amaranth if you have good examples it would not escalate the discussion beyond the level you already escalated it to by raising the point in your initial post. How ironic that on a blog like this someone is making such a claim and then refusing to provide any evidence to back it up.

  16. I never thought tennis would throw up bizarre stories one after the other like this. That Seattle Times article is scary, and hilarious. Djokovic must have a horrible PR team to invent such an elaborate lie to explain his sudden invincibility: gluten-free diets, space-age recovery machines. Should have stuck to the good old 'acquired confidence' defense.