|Highest governing body||International Padel Federation (FIP)|
|Nicknames||Paddle (US, Canada)|
|First played||1969, Acapulco, Mexico|
|Team members||Usually doubles|
|Mixed-sex||Separate competitions (mixed sometimes in leagues)|
|Equipment||Padel racquet, padel ball|
|Venue||Outdoor or indoor padel court|
|Country or region||Worldwide|
Padel (Spanish: pádel), sometimes called padel tennis, is a racket sport of Mexican origin, typically played in doubles on an enclosed court slightly smaller than a doubles tennis court. Although padel shares the same scoring system as tennis, the rules, strokes, and technique are different. The balls used are similar but with a little less pressure. The main differences are that the court has walls and the balls can be played off them in a similar way as in the game of squash and that solid, stringless bats are used. The height of the ball being served must be at or below the waist level.
The sport is thought to have been invented in Acapulco, Mexico, by Enrique Corcuera in 1969, after he modified his squash court to incorporate elements of platform tennis. Initially, the walls and the surface were concrete. Spectators could not watch the game. Over time, glass walls and artificial turf replaced concrete.
Padel was included in the 2023 European Games. The International Padel Federation (FIP) wants to have 75 national federations for padel to become an Olympic sport for the 2032 Summer Olympics.
Three padel courts can fit in one tennis court so many tennis clubs are converting tennis courts to padel courts as it is more profitable for business owners. Padel courts cost between $60,000 and $80,000 to build.
- Players: Usually play doubles on a 10 by 20 metre court (32' 10" by 65' 7") Singles use a 6 by 20 metre (19' 8" by 65' 7") court instead.
- Serves: Serves are always underhand and hit below waist level. Balls that hit the walls around the court after bouncing on the ground are still in play.
- Balls: Padel balls are required in official matches; these are similar to tennis balls but are slightly smaller. Padel is usually played casually with regular tennis balls.
- Rackets: Padel rackets are made of a composite material without strings. The hitting surface is perforated. The racket is similar to the one used in platform tennis but has its own specifications.
- Court: The court has a floor made of concrete, plastic or artificial grass. It is designed similarly to a tennis court, only smaller — measuring 10×20 m, with a 0.88m (34.6 inches) high net in the middle. The court is surrounded by 4 metre high walls made of glass or brick, or a fence when outside.
Padel follows the same scoring as the tennis scoring system with the following exception:
- In the 2020 season, the World Padel Tour introduced the "Gold Point" or "Golden Point", a new scoring method for the main tournaments (Master Final, Master, Open and Challenger) organized by the Tour. This method of scoring has been widely adopted throughout non-professional tournaments as well.
- The golden point in padel:
- The golden point occurs when the score reaches deuce during any game.
- The receiving team chooses whether the service will come from the right or left of the court.
- The team that wins that one single point will win the game.
- The golden point in padel:
The padel rules state that the playing field should be a rectangle 10 metres (32 ft 10 in) wide (back wall) and 20 metres (65 ft 7 in) long (side wall) (with a 0.5% tolerance), enclosed by walls. At the middle of the playing field there will be a net dividing the court in two, the net has a maximum height of 88 cm in the center raising to 92 centimetres (36 in) at sides (with a 0.5 centimetres (1⁄5 in) tolerance).
The superstructure is made from connecting 3m high x 2m wide panels, with an additional 1m mesh height over the glass back walls (10m walls). This additional 1m height is continued for 2m from each corner over the side walls also. This means that the back walls and service corners are actually 4m in height, with the remaining side walls are 3m in height.
Glass panels make up the back walls and service side walls (closest 2 side panels to back walls), whilst metal mesh panels occupy the sides.
The service lines are placed 3 metres (9 ft 10 in) before the back wall and there will be also another line in middle that divides the central rectangle in half. All lines have a 5-centimetre (2 in) width and should be clearly visible.
The minimum height between the playing field and an obstacle (for e.g. the ceiling) is 6 metres (19 ft 8 in).
The Padel Pro Tour (PPT) was the professional padel circuit created in 2005 as a result of the agreement between a group of organizers of padel matches and the Association of Professional Players of Padel (AJPP) and the Spanish Feminine Association of Pádel (AFEP). Nowadays, the most important padel circuit is World Padel Tour (WPT), which started in Spain though it has already reached international expansion. In 2014, the WPT travelled to Portugal, Argentina and Dubai.
Despite padel's origins in Spanish-speaking countries, the number of padel players and clubs in the northern part of Europe is growing. Sweden is the country with the second highest number of searches for the term "padel" in Google after Spain, according to the report presented by Playtomic and Monitor Deloitte. And while countries such as Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway mainly opt for building indoor padel clubs because of their climatic conditions, Belgium, Italy, France and Germany prefer outdoor courts.
In Spain, Sweden and Portugal there are more people playing padel than tennis.
The Swedish Padel Association (Svenska Padelförbundet) was included as a member of the Swedish Sports Confederation in 2021. The number of courts in Sweden grew from 560 in 2019 to more than 4,000 in 2022, exceeding demand at some point. From August 2022 to August 2023, over 120 Swedish padel courts have gone bankrupt as the fad has ended, according to the SVT news.
The sport's popularity along the Costa del Sol in southern Spain and the Algarve in southern Portugal has exposed it to a large number of British visitors, leading to an increased popularity of the sport in the UK and a launch of the UK Padel Federation in 2011. Padel is competing with tennis and squash, whose popularity is declining.
As of 2022, there were 210 courts in the UK, four times more than in 2019.
As of 2023, according to the Lawn Tennis Association, the body governing racket sports in the UK, there were 90,000 people padel players in the country, compared with 915,000 tennis players. The Lawn Tennis Association expects 400 courts in the UK by 2023.
The US Padel Association was founded in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1993, and opened two courts in the Chattanooga area. The American Padel Association was formed in 1995 and built its first courts at a private club in Houston, Texas for exhibition games.
As of late-2023 there were just seven registered padel clubs in Australia, with two in Sydney, two in Melbourne, one in Perth, one on the Gold Coast, and one in the regional town of Albury, with a combined total of 25 courts. The governing body is Padel Australia.
Padel has also been supported by Tennis Australia which aims to grow its popularity. At the 2022 Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam tournament a pop-up padel court was erected for public access and exhibition games, while in 2023 the first "Australian Padel Open" was held alongside the Australian Open tennis near to the tennis centre court at Rod Laver Arena.
The first padel club in New Zealand was opened in October, 2023, with a single court in Auckland at a suburban sporting and tennis club. A court at a second club in Auckland was also under construction, with plans for courts in other cities. A national governing body, Padel New Zealand, was also established, with plans to run national and international competitions.
Most of the padel vocabulary comes from Spain due to the popularity in the country. However, with rapid growth in the Middle East and Africa, more and more words are being added to the padel vocabulary:
- Bandeja: An overhand shot hit with spin rather than power, taken out of the air without letting the ball bounce.
- Víbora: Similar to the bandeja but hit with more power and spin, typically diagonally down.
- Bajada: When a ball takes a high bounce off the wall and is brought down with an overhand hit.
- Chiquita: Similar to a drop shot.
- Salida ('exit'): A player running off the court to save a ball that has bounced off the wall and out of the 20 by 10 court.
- Cadete: A behind-the-back shot.
- Compared to 87 million for tennis.
- "Padel court". 30 October 2019. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
- "Are booming racquet sports helping or threatening tennis?". BBC Sport.
- "Pickleball and padel are challenging tennis's supremacy". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
- Noble, Josh (28 July 2023). "Padel power: players and investors flock to tennis's upstart rival". Financial Times. Retrieved 8 October 2023.
- Agini, Samuel (24 August 2023). "Qatar combines rival tours in fast-growing sport of padel". Financial Times. Retrieved 8 October 2023.
- Espinosa, Eduardo. "Pádel es un deporte inventado por un mexicano en Acapulco". Grupo Milenio (in Mexican Spanish). Retrieved 9 May 2023.
- "History of Padel". Retrieved 1 July 2020.
- "What is Padel? The world's fastest growing racket sport | Macron | Worldwide Shipping". Macron.
- Dineen, J. K. (16 November 2023). "S.F. hangar converted into cathedral for hot new racket sport — and it's not pickelball". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 16 November 2023.
- "Padel vs Pickleball: Can the World's Fastest-Growing Sports Overtake Tennis?". Esquire. 20 February 2023. Retrieved 8 October 2023.
- "Padel is set to be the biggest fitness trend of the summer". British GQ. 10 June 2022. Retrieved 8 October 2023.
- Noble, Josh (10 October 2023). "Daily Mail publisher invests in fast-growing sport of padel". Financial Times. Retrieved 24 October 2023.
- "The Gold Point debuts in World Padel Tour in 2020 | World Padel Tour". worldpadeltour.com. 23 January 2020. Retrieved 11 May 2022.
- FIP 2021, p. 4.
- FIP 2021, p. 5.
- "Padel court structure". Padel Tennis. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
- "Padel Pro Tour". Retrieved 1 July 2020.
- "World Padel Tour". Retrieved 1 July 2020.
- Wood, Zoe (11 February 2023). "'Going up and up': UK padel and pickleball boom drives sales bounce". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 October 2023.
- "With 25 million players worldwide, padel is only tipped to get 'bigger and bigger' by Andy Murray". CNN. Retrieved 8 October 2023.
- "Padel och islandshäst välkomnas som nya medlemmar" [Padel and Icelandic horse are welcomed as new members] (in Swedish). Swedish Sports Confederation. 30 May 2021. Retrieved 24 April 2022.
- Schüllerqvist, Max (1 November 2021). "Så fick Sverige dubbelt så många padelhallar som ishallar" [How Sweden got twice as many padel courts as ice rinks]. SVT Sport (in Swedish). Sveriges Television. Retrieved 24 April 2022.
- "Qatar officially joins International Padel Federation". 2 June 2021.
- Booth, Robert; correspondent, Robert Booth Social affairs (31 October 2022). "Is padel, Jürgen Klopp's favourite racket sport, about to take off in UK?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 October 2023.
- "US Padel Association". Retrieved 1 July 2020.
- "Beginning and development of padel in Asia". 12 December 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
- Barrelle, Matt. "Padel Start in Australia". The Padel School. Retrieved 7 November 2023.
- "Find a court near you". Padel Australia - official website. Retrieved 6 November 2023.
- "Padel Australia". Padel Australia - official website. Retrieved 8 November 2023.
- Nichols, Ben (24 March 2023). "State of the Game: Padel in Australia". The Padel Paper. Retrieved 6 November 2023.
- Dale, Mike (1 November 2023). "New Zealand's first padel court opens beside Tamaki River". The Padel Paper. Retrieved 8 November 2023.
- "Find a club near you". Padel New Zealand. Retrieved 8 November 2023.
- "WORLD PADEL TOUR 101: IMPROVE YOUR PADEL VOCABULARY!". worldpadeltourdev.relevance.pro. Retrieved 8 October 2023.