Have you watched tennis – and other sports – players make those contorted faces while replenishing their fluids with a strange-looking drink and wondered what is it that they are having? Well, mostly it’s a case of these tennis players having pickle juice and in this piece we look at why is that drink becoming so common despite its distinctly difficult to endure taste and smell!
Pickle juice is filled with potassium and sodium, and aids replace electrolytes. Tennis players lose electrolytes when they sweat during playing. Pickle juice can also stop muscle cramping, which can bring even the fittest of tennis players to their knees.
Which is why, despite the intense taste and smell of pickle juice, which makes drinking it difficult for some people there attraction is that pickle juice is considered to hydrate your body quicker and hold it that way longer compared to regular water (it doesn’t mean tennis players don’t drink water and other drinks, as can be found in our piece discussing what tennis players drink here)
Let’s go through a detailed discussion of why tennis players drink pickle juice.
Why Do Tennis Players Drink Pickle Juice?
Having spoke to various coaches and players at different levels, from amateurs to experts, we have come up with the following reasons for tennis players drink pickle juice.
Stop Muscles From Cramping
Cramping, as we discussed, is a job hazard for most athletes and there’s always newer techniques coming up to help players overcome this issue which can leave them underperforming.
When American tennis player Frances Tiafoe announced it was pickle juice which had aided him in to get through to the last eight stage of the 2019 Australian Open, lots of people raised eyebrows. After all, who would think of drinking the remains of a container of pickles to increase their sporting performance?
A lot of tennis stars, apparently.
Tiafoe was struggling at the end of the second set against Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round of that very edition of the Australian Open and it was then that pickle juice came to his rescue. So much so, Tiafoe overcame Dimitrov in four sets despite struggling with cramping issues in the hot Melbourne weather.
As terrible as it may taste, the pickle juice appears to have aided him in stopping cramps and earning his ticket to his first Grand Slam quarter-finals.
Something similar happened at the 2022 Australian Open men’s singles final.
Ranked second in the world at that time, Daniil Medvedev saw his two sets to love lead over 20-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal getting gradually wiped out by the Spaniard. It was then that Medvedev took to pickle juice to keep himself going.
In the end, Medvedev still lost in five but looked to have steam left in him to go the distance.
Former Australian tennis player Sam Groth thinks that the pickle juice impacts the oropharyngeal reflex, which will stop the nerves from firing and muscles from cramping.
He also feels that though there’s a level of sodium in the pickle juice, it will stop the nerve reflex, which can cause your muscles to cramp. Here’s what he has had to say about pickle juice.
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 30, 2022
Experts say that pickle juice contains potassium, vinegar, and sodium. So, it replaces salts and sodium lost when playing tennis in a humid and warm environment such as the Australian Open. In this way, pickle juice prevents cramping.
Pickle juice generally works by triggering a reflex in your mouth, which sends a signal in your body to stop your muscles from cramping. That is why it needs to be drunk at the beginning of the muscle cramping.
Pickle juice will stop muscle cramping 40% quicker compared to drinking water. Experts also suggest that pickle juice is especially effective as a cure for muscle cramping in hot environments or long tennis games like in five-set tennis matches.
For quick recovery from a long tennis game, it’s crucial to replenish muscle glycogen stores and start muscle tissue adaptation and restoration. Pickle juice will do just exactly that.
It contains vinegar, chemically recognized as acetic acid, which could deliver the acetyl group. It’s a basic building block for the Krebs Cycle and aids in metabolizing fat and carbohydrates to create Adenosine triphosphate and energy for cells.
In case you are prone to muscle cramps, get a bottle of pickle juice for your next tennis game or training session. Drink it at the first symptom of muscle cramps, and you can keep playing tennis games or training.
Cure Alcohol-Induced Hangovers
If any tennis player is suffering from alcohol-induced hangovers before his game, then pickle juice is the perfect treatment for him. You can find lots of stories on the internet about how pickle juice can heal alcohol-induced hangovers.
One site even indicates that pickle juice is the ultimate hangover treatment in a few eastern European countries.
Now obviously, we are talking about tennis and playing this grueling sport with a hangover isn’t the best advice we can provide anyone so the first step would be to not take to court if are nursing one.
But if you do find yourself in the middle of one, look to get rid of the hangover with some pickle juice.
Sufficient consumption of pickle juice may improve hydration, at least in practice games. Only two oz of the pickle juice has over 400 mg of sodium. Also, only two oz of the pickle juice has around 225 mg of sodium. Sodium generally improves hydration.
Help Control Blood Sugar Levels
Pickle juice contains antioxidants, which are considered to aid in controlling blood sugar levels. They are also known to improve gut health. So, if you are a tennis player, you can drink a nice refreshing glass of pickle juice when the next winter comes.
Good For Breath
The craziest reason tennis players drink pickle juice is that it is good for the breath. Pickle juice kills bacteria that can breed in the mouth and make a stink.
Is Pickle Juice A Laxative?
Yes, pickle juice could cause a laxative effect, particularly if ingested in large amounts. It has high amounts of sodium which cause the laxative effect.
Pickle juice helps with constipation and eases your bowel movements. So, in case you suffer from constipation, consume a little amount of pickle juice to aid in gently easing constipation.
Final Words On Why Do Tennis Players Drink Pickle Juice?
So, now you might know why tennis players drink pickle juice. There are lots of benefits of prickle juice, including improving hydration, curing alcohol-induced hangovers, replenishing glycogen, and more.
However, the main reason tennis players drink pickle juice is to stop muscles from cramping.
It is like the new Powerade. Yes, you hear it right. After watching the epic 2022 Australian Open men’s singles final, many people have been sold on the pickle juice.
So, next time when you finish the jar of pickles during the holiday season, you might have to think twice about throwing away the additional fluid down the sink. You can make pickle juice with that.
Along with tennis players, runners at the marathon, football players, and many other athletes drink this pickle juice. So, you can drink it for your health benefit.