Quickfire Q's....Padel Tennis!
Padel Tennis - What's it all about?
Tim Edwards is a racket sports photographer. He is well known for his work in Lawn tennis and also photographs the lesser known games of Real Tennis and Rackets. Although not quite a racket sport exactly, but close enough to it, he is a keen Padel Tennis player. Padel is one of the fastest growing sports in the world in terms of court development and people taking up the sport.
We fired some quick questions at Tim about this exciting game.
The Sporting Blog :Tim, explain to our readers in one sentence what Padel tennis is!
TE :It is a short form of doubles tennis played in a room and incorporating the walls.
TSB : We've seen some unbelievable rallies on YouTube, does it make for a good spectator sport live?
TE : Its even better watching live than it is on TV, its not until you are close to the action and watching it in three dimensions that you capture the subtlety and hand skills involved.
TSB : How does it feel hitting a ball with the wooden 'padel' as opposed to a strung racket? Do you still have a good amount of feel?
TE : There is not the ‘feel’ of a lawn tennis racket but you get used to it over time and the short handle does help with controlling the ball.
TSB : Who is the general target playing market? Is it all ages, backgrounds and skill types?
In the past it became popular in Spain amongst the middle-aged but I think that was mainly for social reasons. Nowadays it is for everyone and especially for families, it is a sport where parents and children can have a truly competitive fun game. Kids find using the walls great fun and the fact that 4 players are in a confined space makes for a very sociable fun atmosphere. Jamie Murray is a very keen player and the sport is spreading fast in Europe as many ex-tennis pros recognise the potential; Jonas Bjorkman has clubs in Sweden, Henri Leconte has clubs and a tour in France, Ferrero and Ljubcic are very keen players as are many of the Spanish footballers, Piquet etc. So much so that Liverpool FC have two courts at their training centre!
TSB : Where do you play and what tournaments or competitions have you taken part in recently?
I play at The Harbour Club where there are three indoor courts, there are other David Lloyd centres that have indoor courts and some tennis clubs, Prested, Hurlingham, Weybridge. There are more than 40 courts now in the UK and around 25% court growth per annum. Scotland has indoor and outdoor courts and the first ‘covered’ outdoor court and 3 new courts have just opened in a school in Birmingham. There are regular UK tournaments run by the clubs or the British Padel Tour. From 19th June to 5th July there is a show court installed at Montgomery Square, Canary Wharf and the World Padel Tour is holding an exhibition with the best players in the world on the 29th and 30th June. Free to watch! There are GB teams and the men came 8th in the last World Championships held in Lisbon in 2016 and are 3rd ranked in Europe.
TSB : If our readers want to have a go.... where can they play and how do they get into it?!
From London to Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, three new courts in Guernsey etc. Check on the British Padel website and its free to become a BP member. The sport is still not officially accepted by Sport England yet so the more members we have the better then we can push local councils to install courts...