WHAT IS PADEL?
Padel originated in the 1910s when players on a British Cruise ship substituted their regular tennis rackets with padels. In the 1960s, a Mexican named Enrique Corcuera established the first official court by enclosing it with four-meter high walls to prevent the ball from being lost in neighbouring gardens. He named the game Paddle Corcuera. Alfonso de Hohenlohe, a friend of Corcuera, played the game in 1974 and became a driving force behind its development. Hohenlohe built Spain's first two padel courts at the Marbella Club in Costa del Sol.
In 1975, Julio Menditengua, an Argentine millionaire, played padel in Marbella and introduced the sport to his home country, where it quickly gained immense popularity. Today, Spain boasts 20,000 courts and six million players, making padel the second most popular sport after football. The International Paddle Federation was established in 1991 and held its inaugural World Championship the previous year. In 1993, the Sports Council of Spain changed the game's name to "Padel" for Spanish pronunciation purposes.
In 1992, the British Paddle Association was formed by players seeking to compete in the World Paddle Championships. In 2019, the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) announced the integration of British Padel into their organization, and the Padel Development Plan aims to have 400 padel courts across the UK by 2023.
Padel is a sport played with compact rackets featuring holes and takes place on a court that is 25% smaller than a tennis court. The court is enclosed by four-meter high walls on all sides. Padel is typically played by four players, although some courts are specifically designed for singles play. However, on the World Padel Tour, doubles is the predominant format, accounting for around 90% of all padel court usage.
Padel balls have lower pressure and a slightly smaller size compared to tennis balls, resulting in reduced bounce. The scoring system in padel follows the same format as tennis (0, 15, 30, 40, game). One unique aspect of padel is the ability to play shots off the walls, similar to squash. Each point begins with an underarm serve that must bounce before being struck at or below waist height. A second serve option is also available. During rallies, the ball must make contact with the ground before hitting any of the walls.
To win a set, a team must secure six games with a minimum two-game advantage. In the event of a 5-all tie, a tie-break is played to determine the winner of the set. Matches are typically played in a best-of-three sets format.
- Lionel Messi's passion for the game is evident as he has a personal padel court installed in his backyard.
- Jamie Murray, too, has showcased his skills in professional padel tournaments.
- Jurgen Klopp finds padel to be a valuable setting for discussing football tactics with his coaching staff.