What is Padel Tennis? Everything You Need To Know

Unless you’re from outer space, you will be familiar with the popular racket sport, tennis. Padel tennis is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, and although there are some similarities between the two, they are pretty different. 

So what is padel tennis? Read on to find out more. 

What is Padel Tennis?

Male player holding a padel bat
Player holding a padel bat

Padel tennis first came about in the 1960s (1969, to be precise) and is a mix between squash and tennis. It is the fastest-growing racquet sport played extensively throughout Spain and Latin America.

Often referred to as padel, it is an ideal sport for families as learning the basics takes no time at all. The rules are pretty straightforward, which makes padel tennis a fun, friendly sport to take part in. 

Padel Tennis: A Brief History

It is thought that padel tennis was invented by a Mexican gentleman known as Enrique Corcuera back in 1969. 

Enrique built or extended what was originally a squash court in the land surrounding his house in Acapulco, Mexico. This was renovated into what is now known as a padel court. 

A friend of Corcuera, known as Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (what a name!), came to take a look at this padel court. He loved the idea so much that he created two padel courts in Marbella around 1974. 

Due to its popularity throughout Spain, the World Padel Tour is now hosted there and has been every year since 2005.

Padel Court

Old padel court

A typical padel court is 25% smaller than a tennis court. They are enclosed by glass or cement walls. The surrounding walls make the game slightly harder as the ball moves quickly around the court. Therefore, hand-eye coordination is essential! 

A padel court must have the following dimensions.

  • A padel court must be 10m (long) x 20m (wide).
  • The perimeter of the court is fenced off with surrounding glass walls along with a wire mesh fence.
  • Each side of the net has service lines that are 20cm wide.
  • The court is in the shape of a rectangle divided by a net.
  • Courts that are covered must have a clearance height of 6m minimum.
  • The service blocks are a guide to show where the ball is allowed to bounce after being served.

Related post: Padel vs Pickleball

Padel Rules

Playing padel is not too dissimilar to that of tennis. Most padel matches feature two teams of two, which means the game is mostly played in doubles, although some courts allow for single play.

So what are the rules when it comes to padel tennis? Let’s take a look. 

Aim of The Game 

The game objective is simple; your team must hit the ball to the opponent in such a way that they are unable to return it. The same can be said for the opponents. 

The enclosed court makes it difficult to gauge the direction in which the ball will move. Therefore, padel tennis is a game of strategy, and players must be quick-thinking in order to get ahead. 

Scoring

The game is scored just like a tennis match. For example, matches are made up of two to three sets. To win a set, a team must win six games. 

The scoring system begins at zero, known as ‘love,’ and goes up to 40. However, getting to 40 takes only 4 points as the system moves as follows:

  • Zero = Love
  • Single point = 15
  • Two points = 30
  • Three points = 40
  • Four points = Advantage

If each team were to score 40-40, this is known as a ‘deuce,’ or a tie. 

Equipment

Two wilson padel bats and wilson padel balls on padel court

To play padel tennis, you will, of course, need a racket. More commonly known as pads, padel rackets are different from tennis rackets and are smaller and thicker. They are perforated and are often made out of fiberglass, carbon, or rubber.

The balls used in padel look very similar to tennis balls; however, they do not bounce as high.

Serving

A game of padel must begin with an underarm serve which must come from the right side. Servers must stand behind the marked service lines, and the ball must bounce once before it is served. 

Just like in many other sports, the server is decided by a traditional coin flip. 

Winning Points

So how easy is it to gain a point in padel? Let’s find out. 

You can earn a point in the following ways:

  • If the ball bounces more than once on the opponents’ side.
  • The opponent successfully hits the ball into the net.
  • If the ball hits the opponent.
  • The opponent hits the ball into their own grid.
  • The opponent successfully hits the ball outside of the playing area. For example, against your wall or outside of the cage. 

Padel Faults

The following scenarios will more than likely be deemed as faults.

  1. If the players or any of their equipment touches the opponent’s net (any part) while the ball is in play.
  2. If a player hits the ball twice.
  3. If the player’s ball hits a fence or the ground on their side of the court.
  4. If the ball hits or touches the player serving or their companion.
  5. If a player fails to serve the ball properly more than once.
  6. If the ball hits a wall or fence before moving into the playing field without bouncing first.

Of course, faults are down to the discretion of whoever is playing/judging the game. However, the ones listed above are basic faults that should never be allowed. 

Padel Governing Body and Player Ranking Levels

Padel is governed by the International Padel Federation, founded in 1991. Its mission is to promote the sport worldwide. 

So far, padel is recognized as a sport in over 90 countries, with over 18 million players. From this information alone, it is easy to see that this enjoyable racquet sport is a favorite for many all over the globe.  

World’s Best Padel Players

As it stands, the male players with the highest padel score are as follows: 

Player NameAlejandro Galan RomoJuan Lebron Chincoa
Points Scored1517015170
NationalitySpanish Spanish
Top seeded male padel players

Below are the women’s rankings for the highest score.

Player NameAlejandra Salazar BengoecheaGemma Triay Pons
Points Scored16015 16015
NationalitySpanish Spanish
Top seeded female padel players

Final Thoughts

Padel tennis is one of the fastest-growing racquet sports in the world. With similar rules to tennis, padel is a game of strategy that can be played by adults and children of all ages and levels.