What is the fastest growing sport of 2021? Some people would say already popular sports like football or basketball or sports that had big moments like the rugby world cup or the F1 world title race, but it is neither. A sport called Padel was the fastest growing.
Padel or Padel Tennis is a mixture of tennis and squash. Padel was first invented in 1969 in Mexico by a rich businessman called Enrique Corcuera. Corcuera then built two courts in the Marbella Club, where soon tournaments started to get created where the first world championship was in 1992. In 1992 the British Padel association was formed to make British people compete in the world championship. Padel today has around eight million players according to the Padel Academy, with it becoming massive in Spain with over 1100 courts around the country. In the UK there are over 15000 players with 142 courts but growing yearly. A big Ambassador for Padel is two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murry, who has invested £1.3 million in Padel courts in London’s biggest shopping centres.
The first thing you notice when playing Padel is how the court is laid out, at a width of 20m and a length of 10m it is a lot smaller than a tennis court. It is also played inside an arena made up of glass and fence. The back walls and 4m of sidewalls are made of glass and the remaining 12m of the wall is made up of metal fence. Padel is also only played in doubles, as the high-pressure quickness of the sport makes singles hard to play. The rackets are different as well, as they are a lot shorter at 45.5cm compared to the 60cm average of a tennis racket. The head of the racket is different as it doesn’t have the normal appearance of any other racket sport, as it looks like a table tennis paddle with 73 holes drilled into them. You also get three different shaped heads, with all three having different effects. You have a round-shaped head, which has a larger sweet spot (The best place for the ball to hit) but a lower amount of balance. You have a diamond-shaped head that has a lower sweet spot but more balance. Then you have the teardrop-shaped racket, which has a middle on both sweet spot and balance.
When you serve in Padel you bounce the ball onto the ground and when it is on the way back up you then hit it underarm diagonally onto the opponent’s box. When returning the ball, you can either: hit it on the volley, after one bounce or hit it against your back wall. There are many ways to win a point in Padel. One way is to have the ball bounce twice before it is returned, having the ball touch the net. The ball is not allowed to touch a wall without hitting the floor first and finally, if you hit the ball out the cage you lose a point. The scoring system is the same as it is in tennis. When you win your first point the score goes to 15 then goes to 30 then 40 and if you win with 40 you win a leg. If you get to 40-40 you need to play until somebody wins two rallies in a row. You need to win six legs to win a set, but you need to win by two legs. If it gets to 6-6 then it is a first to seven rally wins the set. The first team to win two sets wins the match.
The future of Padel is interesting as the more people to play the sport the more competitive it is going to become. With sports stars like David Beckham and Andy Murry encouraging people the play Padel, the more interest it is going to gain. With the sport growing so rapidly it can’t be too long until it enters the Olympics, which could introduce Padel to a global stage. With Tennis being the fifth most-watched sport in the world, there is definitely a market out there. If you want a high-pressure sport that Is fun, I recommend giving Padel ago.