The game in a variety of formats has been played since the 19th Century on British Cruise Ships and made its way to New York City, Washington Square Park in 1915, with paddles replacing the traditional tennis racquets. Over the next decade, changes were made to courts, adding wooden floors and high surrounding fences to avoid losing the ball in the winter snow, This became known as Platform Tennis and is a remote ancestor of the design of the courts.
The modern day inventor of Padel is considered to be Enrique Corcuera who built a court in his holiday home in Acapulco in Mexico in the 1960. One of Enrique’s friends was Alfonso de Hohenlohe, one of the founding figures of Marbella in Spain, a man most associated with turning the sleepy town into the well-known beach resort destination for the international jet set that it is today. While visiting Mexico in 1974, Hohenlohe enjoyed this new game so much that he decided to import it to Spain’s Costa del Sol, where he built Spain’s first two paddle courts at the Marbella Club. The introduction of the courts marked the beginning of the game’s popularity among the members of this exclusive club, including the famous tennis player Manolo Santana. Soon, tournaments were being organized along the Costa del Sol as more and more clubs built their own courts.
Padel is fun, social and accessible, just like playing beach tennis, and has spread rapidly in the past 10 years and has now been brought to South West London, Bishop’s Park by Chris Warren, the co-founder of Rocks Lane.
Padel is a summed up as a hybrid of tennis, badminton, squash and beach tennis.
Technically easy to play, it is great for all ages and standards to enjoy!
Padel is typically played in pairs with enclosed sides to the court comprised of glass or block work walls, similar in layout to a tennis court but smaller, measuring 10m x 20m. You start the game with an under arm serve, so the game is not as serve dominant as in tennis and leads to longer rallies, increasing the fun, action and exercise. Scoring is the same as in tennis, but balls can be played off the walls in a similar way to squash. Padel balls are similar to standard tennis balls but with a little less pressure, whilst padel rackets are solid (with no strings), perforated, and overall smaller & more compact that a tennis racket.