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What is padel? Padel (Padel Tennis) in one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. We teach you everything you need to know about this fantastic sport and how to get started. Let’s go!

What is Padel?

Padel (or Padel tennis) is a mix between Tennis and Squash. It’s a racket sport that combines action with social interaction and fun. It’s an ideal game for all ages and abilities, as points are won by strategy more than by sheer strength and power.

Padel is played in doubles on an enclosed court made of glass and mesh, which is a third of the size of a full-size tennis court. The game is easy to learn, making it ideal for families as it can easily be played with mixed skill levels.

The correct name is padel, but the sport is sometimes referred to as paddle tennis or paddeltennis.

The History of Padel

Padel originated in the Mexican beach resort of Acapulco in 1969. The founder of Padel, Enrique Corcuera, was a wealthy businessman who didn’t have enough space to install tennis courts. Instead, he built smaller courts surrounded by walls. Due to the smaller surface, he decided to play with wooden paddles, hence the name, which was smaller than traditional tennis rackets.

In the beginning, Padel was played only by the Mexican elite, until Alfonso De Hohenlohe, a Spanish friend of Corcuera, fell in love with the sport. Shortly afterward, the Hohenlohe built the first two European padel courses in Marbella, in 1974.

Spanish King Juan Carlos and former Wimbledon champion Manolo Santana started to promote the sport, and its popularity quickly increased. The sport gained further momentum when Julio Menditengui, a friend of De Hohenlohe, introduced the sport in Argentina.

Since then, the sport has grown rapidly and is today considered one of the world’s fastest growing sports in Europe, South America and North America. Today, Spain is the dominant country with its more than 20,000 paddle courts and four million active players.

In 1991, the International Padel Federation was founded. It is a non-profit organization with the mission to promote the sport globally.

The Padel Court

A Padel court is 10×20 meters surrounded by glass walls and metal mesh. The highest part of the walls is 4 meters and the lowest 3 meters. The court is separated by a net with a maximum height of 88 cm in the center and 92 cm at the sides.

Learn more about building a padel court or starting a padel club in our Ultimate Guide to Building a Padel Court.

Padelbana

The Rules in Padel

It’s easy to get started playing Padel. There are many similarities with the rules of Tennis but also differences to keep track of. More about padel rules can be found in our article Padel Rules: How to Play Padel.

How to Play Padel

  • Padel is played in doubles
  • Padel uses the same scoring system as tennis
  • Each point is started with an underhand serve. The server first bounces the ball then hits it below waist level
  • You have two serve attempts
  • Just as in tennis, the ball may only bounce once in your side, and it may only be hit once
  • Once the ball is in play, all balls which cross the net must first bounce on the ground on the opponent’s side before hitting a wall
  • It’s allowed to return the ball by first hitting it in a glass wall on your side of the court

Scoring

The scoring system in padel is the same as in tennis. Padel is usually played best of 3 or 5 sets, where each set consists of 6 games.

The points count 15, 30, 40, and game. A game has to be won by two points. “Golden point” was recently introduced in competitions. It means that a game with a score of 40-40 will have a decisive point. It is optional to use “Golden point” in amateur games.

To win a set, you must win six games with at least two games difference. If the score is 5-5, you play to 7. With a score of 6-6, a tiebreak is played. A tiebreak plays to 7 and has to be won by two points.

This is How to Win a Point in Padel

  • The opponent fails two serve attempts
  • The ball bounces twice in the ground on the opponent’s side
  • The opponent hits the ball into the net
  • The opponent hits the ball out of the court without first hitting the ground on your side
  • The opponent hits the ball directly into one of the walls on your side
  • The opponent hits the ball into the metal mesh on his side
  • The opponent is hit by the ball before it hits the ground

Padel Rackets

A padel racket is different from a tennis racket. It doesn’t have strings and it’s made of a composite material with holes in it. The standard thickness of a padel racket is 38 mm and has a safety cord attached to the grip that is mandatory to use during games.

If you need help choosing the best padel racket, we recommend our article Choosing a padel racket – The Complete guide

Padel Racket Shapes

There are mainly three different shapes on a padel racket; round, diamond, and teardrop. Each one of them has its special characteristics with their advantages and disadvantages. The Best Padel Rackets for 2021 offers racket recommendations.


Round Padel Rackets
Padel rackets with a round shape are suitable for beginners as they are generally easy to handle and more forgiving to play with.

Diamond Shaped Padel Rackets
Diamond-shaped padel rackets suit more advanced players as they are harder to play with. They offer less control in exchange for more power.

Teardrop-Shaped Padel Rackets
Players who look for a good balance between speed and control should look for a teardrop-shaped padel racket. They are generally slightly easier to play than diamond-shaped rackets and offer more power than the round ones.

Vad är padel

Padel Balls

A padel ball looks like a tennis ball but is softer as it has lower pressure.

Padel balls lose their pressure after a while and should be replaced relatively often. As an example, the balls are replaced every seventh game in the men’s World Padel Tour. On an amateur level it’s possible to use the same balls for several matches before they need to be replaced.

You’re responsible for bringing padel balls when playing a game. Padel balls are usually available for purchase at the padel club.

Vad är padel


Padel Shoes

Padel is a fast-paced sport with many turns and jumps. Using the right type of shoes is important. For the first few times trying out the game, a pair of regular training shoes will do fine. If you plan to play on a regular basis, you should invest in a pair of padel shoes to reduce the risk of injury.

Shoes for padel or clay tennis often have a herringbone pattern that will provide the grip needed. In addition, they offer more stability than, for example, running shoes.

As shape and construction differ a lot between brands, we recommend trying a few different models to find the right fit.

Vad är padel


Tournaments

In 1991 the International Paddle Federation was formed and in 1992 the first world championships were held in Madrid and Seville.

In 2005, the Padel Pro Tour was created, the first professional tour in padel. In 2013, the tour was renamed the World Padel Tour, which today is played around the world.

As padel is growing, more countries are organizing their own professional tours. It’s also possible to find tournaments for amateurs at the local padel clubs.


What is Padel – Summary

Padel (or Padel tennis) can be described as a mix between Tennis and Squash. It combines action with social interaction and fun. Padel is played in doubles on an enclosed court made of glass and mesh, which is a third of the size of a full-size tennis court. It’s easy to learn playing Padel.

A padel racket is not the same as a tennis racket. It doesn’t have strings and it’s made of a composite material with holes in it. There are mainly three different shapes on a padel racket; round, diamond, and teardrop.

A padel ball looks like a tennis ball but has lower pressure making it softer. Using the right type of shoes is important. For the first few times trying out the game, a pair of regular training shoes will do fine. If you plan to play on a regular basis, you should invest in a pair of padel shoes to reduce the risk of injury.

In 2005, the Padel Pro Tour was created, the first professional tour in padel. In 2013, the tour was renamed the World Padel Tour, which today is played around the world.

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