Padel is probably one of the fastest growing racket Sports in the World, and due to its exposure within many areas of Spain, it was picked up by a large number of British visitors which led to an increased interest in the UK, and the inauguration of the UK Padel Federation back in 2011.
The Sport itself was actually first played back in 1969 in Acaculpo, Mexico by Enrique Corcuera and since then, within Spain, it has developed into an extremely popular Sport with around 20,000 courts available and over 6 million players. In fact, Spain actually has the most number of professional players on the International circuit too, representing their country at the highest level which includes the European Championship Tour and the World Padel Series.
An extremely fun sport to play Padel can be both in a singles or doubles format and the court is generally rectangular and enclosed by walls, with a net in the middle, very much like tennis. The scoring system is exactly the same as Tennis, but one of the key differences is in the overall gameplay with serves being underarm and the walls forming part of the playable surface. The rackets are also solid, rather than with strings, so are a lot more durable, if you like to hit the ball with a bit of pace!
Just to give you an idea of how popular Padel is becoming across the world, there are now over 25m players worldwide, with around 300,000 federated players (according to the International Padel Federation). There were 900,000 Padel rackets sold last year, and the latest World Padel Tour generated over 415 million views on their Youtube Channel! In terms of professional stats, as of April 2022 there were 1264 pro ranked male players and 596 female players, and of the top 100 male players 73 were Spanish. Of the top 100 female players 72 were Spanish, so you can see how popular Padel is in Spain.
Padel in the UK has also grown rapidly and according to the latest stats there are now around 89,000 active players with a total of 155 Padel courts with a mixture of both indoor and outdoor courts. That’s also one of the reasons as to why it’s so popular, because you can play regardless of the weather, though in Spain there’s more courts outside than inside. Why? Because there’s more sunny days in Spain when compared with the UK.
All along the Costa Blanca and Murcia there are plenty of places to play Padel in Spain, and if you’d like to improve your game, even if you are here just for a holiday, there’s plenty of coaches available to train you up too! In the Costa Blanca North, there’s clubs such as North Costa Blanca Padel, Club de Tenis Altea, Club Padel La Nucia, and Patagonia Padel & Gym. In the Costa Blanca South there’s places such as Padel Rojales, Club Padel Marjal, Nova Padel, and El Capitan. In Murcia you’ve got Tu Padel, New Level Tennis Los Alcazares, Villaescusa Sport & Pista de Padel plus plenty of others.
Here’s a few further facts about Padel, that might interest you:
- Padel is now that Popular that it’s overtaken Tennis in terms of numbers and in Spain, it’s actually the only Sport bigger than Football!
- It’s the fastest growing Sport in the World, and is even played in Sweden, Denmark, France, Netherlands, UAE and the USA – keep a lookout for it to reach the Olympics soon.
- There’s over 80,000 players in the UK, but that’s still less than 1% of the total in Spain
- Jurgen Klopp, Neymar, David Beckham and Messi have all been spotted playing it.
- You can even run out of the court, hit it back in, and continue playing
- Rallies last a lot longer than in tennis, just due to the sheer nature of the sport (the walls help a lot with this)
- 30% of Padel players are women compared to around 15% in tennis
- 25% of the shots players in the World Tour are lobs
It really is a fantastic Sport, and if you haven’t taken it up yet… we certainly suggest looking into doing so, and Spain is a great place in which to start. Just ensure you wear comfortable clothing, a good pair of trainers, and if you see that the Racket has got holes in it, don’t worry, it’s meant to!
There’s plenty of websites you can look at for further information on Padel, many of which we used to gain the official stats that you’ll see in this article, here’s just a few of those sites below: