The origins of Padel Tennis

November 05 2022

Padel originates from the Mexican beach resort of Acapulco when in 1969 a rich businessman Enrique Corcuera, who did not have enough space to build a tennis court at his home, came up with the idea of a similar sport played with wooden rackets that were smaller than traditional tennis rackets.

The first European Padel Club was founded in 1974 in Marbella & its popularity began to grow exponentially when Spanish King Juan Carlos & ex-Wimbledon Champion Manolo Santana started playing & promoting the sport.

The ongoing pandemic which has resulted in restrictions to the playing of indoor sports such as squash has further helped grow its popularity & Padel is currently Europe’s fastest growing racket sport with over 10 million players worldwide.

Padel has often been described as “tennis with walls” or “squash in the sun” & was initially popular with passengers on British cruise ships.

Now, padel tennis, which from its origins dating back to 1969, has largely been played in Mexico, Argentina, Spain & North America, has become increasingly popular in across all of Europe.

It is estimated that there are over ten million players Padel tennis worldwide.

It is a fast-paced game contested on enclosed courts with standard tennis balls but a shorter, stringless racket.

The court surface is smaller than a traditional tennis court &, like squash, the ball can be played off the side & back walls which makes the game easier to play which has led to padel tennis being popular with all ages & abilities.

Padel tennis is a cross between tennis & squash played on an enclosed glass court.

All because Enrique Corcuera, a Mexican, owned land in Acapulco in the 1960s that was insufficient for a tennis court. He built a smaller rectangle, added walls and a fence to stop the ball flying into neighbouring land and invented a fun new format with tennis scoring. And why not?

Inside a 10m x 20m enclosed court, padel combines the best of squash, shots that can be played off the glass walls, & tennis without the need to retrieving balls in a way that can quickly be grasped by all skill levels and fitness levels.

Soft shots are often smarter than going for power, lobs do not require Roger Federer-esque top-spin, rallies flow naturally, underarm serves ensure the ball is easily and quickly in play. Within minutes it feels simple, natural yet also open to inventiveness through spin and angles.

Padel tennis is one of the world’s fastest-growing sports. A cross between tennis and squash, it typically is played in a doubles format on an enclosed court about a third of the size of a tennis court. Balls are allowed to bounce off walls and serves must be played underhand. The game requires less physical effort than tennis, which has made it appealing to a wide range of age groups.