Padel, or Padel Tennis, is a fun and highly sociable sport for players of all skill levels and ages, and best of all, it’s pretty easy to pick up.
Played in an enclosed turf court made up of parts glass, mesh and net, roughly the third of the size of a tennis court, Padel is usually played in a doubles format. The game isn’t power dominant, so it’s usually enjoyed with teams of mixed ages and skill levels, with teams including men and women.
The rules are similar to tennis, although the first serve is made underhand, and the glass walls behind each team are included in the game with the ball being allowed to bounce back off of them.
With Padel becoming increasingly popular around the world, being the fastest growing sport across Europe, let’s dive into the details.
During the 19th century, a similar game played with tennis rackets was wildly popular among passengers and crew members on British cruise ships, and in the 1910s, ‘platform tennis’ became popular in the USA, with paddles replacing traditional tennis rackets.
Over the following decade, wooden floors and much taller surrounding fences were added to courts – however this was only to avoid losing the ball.
In 1969, Enrique Corcuera, a Mexican Businessman set up the first known Padel court at the back of his holiday home in Acapulco. He surrounded his court with walls and a metallic fence of up to four metres on all sides, designed to prevent the ball from escaping onto the surrounding land.
Using his family name, he went on to call the sport Paddle Corcuera, only known today as Padel.
As Padel is so similar to Tennis, so are the rules; however there are a few differences you should know about.
- Unlike a Tennis court, a Padel court has walls. So the ball is allowed to touch them, with the walls also being played off of them, much like Squash.
- To serve, the ball must be bounced off of the floor from waist height and hit from below. Players are allowed two opportunities to serve the ball into the opposition’s box.
- Players are allowed to ‘volley’ the ball, however if the ball should hit the wall, then it is determined as ‘out’. Like Squash, players are allowed to hit the ball into the wall on their side.
- Like Tennis, matches are best of three sets, with each team aiming for 6 wins in a set with at least a two game difference. Without the two game difference, the winner is decided by a tie-break.
The scoring system in Padel is the same as Tennis:
0 points= Love.
1 point = 15.
2 points= 30.
3 points= 40.
Tied score= All.
40-40 = Deuce.
As Padel is played in doubles, the enclosed court is designed for four people to play in, approximately 25% smaller than a standard tennis court.
A Padel court is 20 meters long and 10 meters wide with back walls made of glass to a height of 3 meters, whereas the glass side walls end after 4 meters. The walls can be made of glass or another solid, even material like concrete. The rest of the court is closed using a metallic mesh and netting of up to 4 meters tall.
Padel is a fast paced game, making it difficult to play as singles. However when played as a singles match, the court is designed slightly differently.