What is Padel ?
Padel (pronounced pad-del) is a racquet sport that was invented in Mexico and enjoys huge popularity in Spain, Europe and Latin America. It is estimated that padel is played by over 10 million people around the world, yet most Canadians have never even heard of it!
Padel combines all the best elements of tennis, squash and badminton in an enclosed space that is slightly smaller than a regular tennis court. It is played with an unique, fat, foam-filled padel and regular, everyday tennis balls. You always play Padel as a doubles team and the scoring is the same as in tennis but the balls can bounce off the back and side walls allowing for unexpected, wild and exciting rallies.
Padel is a great sport for players of all ages and skills, as it is easy to learn and instantly enjoyable, but still challenging enough to make you want to keep coming back! Most players get the grasp of it within the first twenty minutes of playing.
Highly social, loads of fun and a great workout, padel is an amazing way to play your summer days away!
The History of Padel
Padel originated in Acapulco, Mexico in 1969. Enrique Corcuera, a Mexican industrialist in search of a less strenuous family-oriented racquet game, altered tennis court dimensions, rules and the racquet to create the new sport.
The Mexican elite enjoyed padel for several years before it was picked up by the Spanish royal family and taken to Madrid, where it was first introduced to Europe. In the late 1970’s, the game was introduced into Argentina, again as a game for a wealthier set of people.
In the early 1980’s, several public courts were built on a popular Argentine beach resort allowing the general public to access the game. By the mid 1980’s many more public courts were built in Buenos Aires and since then, the sport has grown at a tremendous pace. Spain and Argentina continue to be the most populous in courts and players maintaining top levels on the professional tournament circuits. Currently, over 10 million participants play the sport in 25 countries. Padel is growing worldwide and is organized under the International Padel Association. Check out the FIP site here for opportunities to play padel internationally.
Courts & Equipment
Padel is played on an enclosed court that is just over a third of the size of a tennis court and has a playing surface of 20m x 10m. Like a tennis court it is divided in the middle by a net but unlike tennis the court is surrounded by walls, which can be utilised by players during the game of padel.
The surface of the court can be made from a variety of materials, including cement, synthetic materials or artificial grass. The FIP also stipulates that the playing surface of a Padel court should be terracotta, blue or green.
The racquets used in padel differ substantially from tennis rackets. Padel racquets are made from composite materials with a perforated surface that is ergonomically designed to allow for airflow. The face measures 26cm x 29cm and the overall length of the racquet is 45cm. Because the racquet is much shorter than a tennis racquet, it is much easier to control.