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What is padel tennis?

What is Padel Tennis?

Padel is a form of tennis that's easy to play, fun and extremely sociable. It's played mainly in a doubles format on an enclosed court about a third of the size of a tennis court and can be played in groups of mixed ages and abilities, as it's not power dominant. The rules are broadly the same as tennis, although you serve underhand and the walls are used as part of the game with the ball allowed to bounce off them. One of the fastest growing sports across continental Europe, padel has gained increasing popularity over recent years, with over six million people currently playing in Spain.

Padel courts are designed for four players and are roughly 25% smaller than the size of a tennis court. The speed of the game, combined with the smaller size of a padel court, makes singles play difficult, and most padel matches feature two pairs of players.

Some padel courts are designed especially for singles, but around 90% of all padel courts in the world are doubles specific. At a professional level only doubles is played on the World Padel Tour, the leading competition for elite players.

Padel vs. tennis

In padel, scoring is the same as tennis – but there are many differences between the sports. A padel court has walls, so shots can be played off them, like in squash.

Also, unlike tennis, when a ball is served it must bounce once on the floor then hit from below, or at, waist height. When serving, players have two attempts to hit into an opponent’s box.

Players can also volley the ball during a rally however the ball is determined as “out” should it hit a wall directly. In padel, players can bounce the ball off a wall on their own side of the court – similar to squash.

Like tennis, a set is won when a team wins six games and there is at least two games difference – failing that the set is decided by a tie-break. Matches are best of three sets.

Padel courts are designed for four players and are roughly 25% smaller than the size of a tennis court. The speed of the game, combined with the smaller size of a padel court, makes singles play difficult, and most padel matches feature two pairs of players.
Some padel courts are designed especially for singles, but around 90% of all padel courts in the world are doubles specific. At a professional level only doubles is played on the World Padel Tour, the leading competition for elite players.

The main differences between the two sports are:

The number of players on court in padel vs tennis

Tennis is a singles and doubles sport while padel is designed to be a doubles only sport.

Tennis and padel court sizes

A padel court is approximately a third smaller than a tennis court.

Padel courts feature 4 walls surrounding the court, which players use throughout the game similar to squash, meaning there are no boundaries like there are in tennis.

Padel court – 20m long by 10m wide.

Tennis court – 23.77m long by 8.23m wide.

Net height differences

A padel court uses a net that’s slightly less high than a normal tennis net.

Tennis net – 0.914m high

Padel – 0.88m high

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