When to retire if you’re cramping


So when you feel a cramp coming or when it seizes your muscles in a match what do you do ? Some players play through it but I think it depends on the situation … what’s your experience ?
I had to retire once and was able to finish the match the match the other two times.

In the match I had to retire I was not able to run anymore, my quads had shot down on me.

In short, listen to your body, I am as far as you can imagine from being a snowflake, but reality is that mental fortitude can only take you so far.


Cramps went away during how many remaining games ? I find it impossible to play much less walk when muscles tighten and restrict movement. What are the rules about cramps and timeouts , in the pros you can’t get treatment since it’s a conditioning issue not an injury.


just depends how bad the cramp is...sometimes you can hydrate and massage out the muscle to make it last. other times it seizes up like a mother and can't be helped.


If I start getting that pre-cramp feeling without the cramp actually happening yet, that's when I stop all playing for the day.


If it's doubles, I would not retire but let me partner try to cover the entire court, singles-style. I would expect my partner to do the same if he/she were cramping in a match.


So when you feel a cramp coming or when it seizes your muscles in a match what do you do ? Some players play through it but I think it depends on the situation … what’s your experience ?
My experience is that once your legs start to cramp, that's when you should be done. They will feel fine for a bit after the cramp goes away, but it is more often than not a false sense of normalcy. The cramps will return with a vengeance soon and will likely get worse and resurface in more rapid succession. It just isn't worth it to gut it out since it could lead to a serious outcome. Not that I know anything about the last statement ... ok, I do.


So when you feel a cramp coming or when it seizes your muscles in a match what do you do ? Some players play through it but I think it depends on the situation … what’s your experience ?
depends how much money is on the line. cramps can signal dehydration, but by then it's too late. I've made it thru a match i wish i had just retired...thankfully didnt have to go to ER, but very close...and a *really* unpleasant 24 hours after that. The ER/doc bills for that would have been *just shy* of my appearance fee/prize money. this was a 3.5 match. get my drift?


Hmmm, I've cramped 3-4 times I can remember in crazy long grinding 4.5 matches. Once in Tuscon AZ. Everytime I've finished the match, usually win the match, maybe I should try to cramp more because i seem to win those ones lol. Usually down a pedialyte/gatorade/nuun/coconut water and play crazy aggressive until it goes away. One match I felt twangs of a cramp but hid it from my cramping opponent, when I went to shake hands at the net my entire lower body locked up and i dropped to the ground. He thought I was making fun of him, lol. I'm like, nooo way man, that's some crazy intense pain.

I had a match this year in 110 degree heat against a known super grinder and felt cramps coming on in my calves. Downed 3 oz of pickle juice and it went away. So now that I know that trick I'm not sure cramps will be an issue for me again.

Also to add, I've never seen someone default a match because of cramps at 4.5/5.0. We're usually all good athletes and know how to hydrate properly, if you're dehyrdrated I think that's a better reason to default a match, especially if its crazy hot.


New User
I was playing in the Southern sectionals two weeks ago and was cramping so bad on the court I collapsed. And this was in the 3rd set tie break down 8-9. My body literally shut down on me. I was cramping for the past 4 or 5 games prior but tried to push through, will NEVER do this again. Luckily there was a nurse there playing that she gave me an IV or I was headed directly to the ER. Felt like crap the next two days as well. I will never make that mistake again.


Playing singles? I'll retire after the first big cramp.

Playing doubles? I'll suck it up for my partner's sake and try to help out as best i can.


when i was cramping during USTA matches playing doubles, i would hit out and try to get off the court as soon as possible.
i tried not to let opponents know., i just mentioned it to my partner. usually it was when it was humid.
now i take electrolytes prior to the matches as a preventative measure.
I eat at least a banana after a long first set or if I sense a match could go 3 if its a regular 3rd set. I'm also alternating between water and gatorade each changeover. Sandwiches and fruit between matches until day is finished.


Hall of Fame
For me, cramps during a match are almost always accompanied by major muscle strains as I pull the knotted-up area while trying to move. If that happens, it's all over. I've had success managing my body on hot, humid days with lots of water and using a Gu (a distance running product) about every 30 minutes, generally alternating between the caffeinated and uncaffeinated versions.

I still often feel crampy AFTER a long, hot match no matter what I do. But since I'm not competing I can usually relax and massage the affected muscle when I feel it starting to knot and prevent a full-on cramp. For some reason this seems to happen no matter what I eat or drink.