Padel is set to become the sport of the 3rd Millenium.
It was invented in the 1960’s in Mexico and has become very popular in the whole of Latin America, including parts of the USA. In Argentina padel has even more players than football has.
In Europe the sport has begun its conquest, not surprisingly, through Spain, where it was introduced by the
many immigrants from Latin America. Figures vary but at least 2 million people in Spain regularly play the sport. Virtually every Spanish town has a paddle court.
It is quickly becoming clear that its popularity in the rest of Europe is set to increase. Sport clubs in the South of France and in Italy are already building courts in order to increase the portfolio of sports that they offer. Just like tennis, padel is a sport that can be played in any climate, but also indoors if preferred. The many tourists that travel to Spain every year are now also discovering this very entertaining sport,
and are looking for facilities back home to practice the sport all year round.
Padel is a mix of tennis and squash. It is generally played in doubles, and the ball is allowed to touch the surrounding walls. Just like tennis, the ball is allowed to bounce only once. Scores are kept in the same way as tennis, however the serve must be underhand.
The racquets are very much adapted for the sport. They have no strings, and are made of graphite.
But why is this sport so popular?
First of all it is extremely easy to learn. If you have played racquet sports like tennis or squash before, it will take you literally minutes to get to a decent level. But even for players that do not have this experience, it is a lot easier to learn than e.g. tennis, which requires much skill.
Another reason is that the sport is very convivial. The distances between all the players are a lot smaller than with tennis, which means that it is easier to communicate between rallies, even with the opponents. Compare it to squash, but with 4 players. No wonder it is very popular to practice the sport with business partners or colleagues.
Padel is also cheaper than tennis. The courts are considerably smaller than tennis courts, which means less space is required to build the courts. Prices to rent a court are generally the same as renting a tennis court. As padel is always played in doubles the cost per player is lower.
Finally you could argue that padel is appealing to a larger crowd. The sport is less physically challenging than tennis or squash, and requires less skill. In Spain, veteran tennis players switch over to padel once they feel tennis is asking too much of them. Padel is also popular with women and children. The great thing about padel is you can push yourself as hard or as little as you want. Those wanting a physical challenge can increase the intensity.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that the sport will become the sport of the 3rd Millennium.
To be continued ... maybe with you!
The Padel International Team!