What is Padel Tennis? (And How to Play)
22 November 2021 • By - George Aynaci
What is Padel Tennis?
Padel tennis is one of Europe’s fastest growing grassroots sports. The sport has continued to gain momentum in the UK, with 35 padel tennis venues now available in the UK on Playfinder.
Padel originated in Mexico in 1969, invented by Enrique Corcuera, and is essentially a mix of traditional tennis and squash. Most often played in doubles, the court is enclosed in a wall of glass and mesh. This wall plays a crucial role in general play as it can be used by players to bounce the ball off, bringing a new dimension and unique feel to every rally.
The rise of padel tennis has been monumental across Europe, especially in Spain who record around 6-10 million active players. With padel officially being recognised as a discipline of tennis in the UK, it is on the rise across Britain with over 6,000 active players.
There’s even the inaugural WPT ‘World Padel Tour’ taking place, inviting the best players from around the world to take part at the Spanish headquarters. As well as the LTA National League and the iPadel Club League played in the UK.
How to Play Padel Tennis
Basic Rules of Padel
Padel is normally played in doubles, on a court one third the size of a regular tennis court. Using a low compression tennis ball and solid, stringless racket, each player must begin their rally serving underarm.
Padel Court Dimensions
A padel court is up to 20 meters in length and 10 meters in width, with the back glass walls standing at 3 meters and glass side walls reaching 4 meters. The rest of the court is closed off by a metallic mesh at a height of 4 meters.
In the middle of the court, there is a net dividing it in two. It has a maximum height of 88cm in the centre, rising to 92cm on both sides.There is a line running perpendicular from the net to the service line. This line splits the court in two and creates two distinct service boxes on either side of the net. The service line is 3 metres from the back wall and runs the full width of the court.
Each point begins with a serve which, like in tennis, must be hit cross court to your opponent and land in the opposite service box. As in tennis, you get two attempts at serving, but for padel the serve MUST be made underarm. A “let” is called if the serve touches the top of the net and still lands successfully in the service box.
The ball may only bounce on the ground once before touching any other part of the court and being returned by the opposite team’s player.
The uniquely strategic element of padel that makes the sport so engaging is the walls. Players are able to directly hit the ball off of their own wall, as long as the ball makes it over the net. However, the ball must ALWAYS bounce on the ground of the opposing side before touching the wall again.
A point is scored once the ball bounces twice on one side, strikes the net, hits the opponents wall before bouncing, or leaves the court entirely.
The scoring system mirrors that of tennis, with scoring going up in increments of 15, 30 & 40 before a game is won. If the score is 40-40, then the game goes to ‘Deuce’ with the first player to lead by two clear points taking the game.
Six games are required to win a set, with a team requiring two sets to win the match. If a set is tied at six games all then players play out a seven-point tiebreaker to decide the winner.
Why will we see Padel continue to flourish in the UK?
Padel is set to grow substantially in the coming years for many reasons. The sport, compared to tennis, is less physically demanding with less distance to cover and each rally favouring technique and good shot placement over extensive running. Also, padel is an extremely social sport with it being played in doubles and encouraging teamwork with another player. With the game being easy to learn and play, padel is accessible to families and friends who can participate regardless of their sporting experience or ability.
Playfinder and Padel Tennis
Padel4All’s partnership and inclusion on the Playfinder platform is a game changer for the sport and evidence of it’s recent surge in popularity. Padel4All is set to open a new Padel facility in Southend’s Garon Park on the 22nd November, which is also available to book through Playfinder.
To book a Padel court today, check out: www.playfinder.com/uk/padel-tennis