Few sports have grown as fast as padel. Its characteristics make it a sport within everyone’s reach, and it is rewarding for the player from day one. Born in Mexico 59 years ago, and developed in Argentina and Spain, it has conquered the hearts of sportspeople, who not only see it as a sport but also as an opportunity to socialise. The creation of the World Padel Tour professional circuit in 2012 contributed to its diffusion, also favouring its internationalisation.
Today there are padel courts in more than 60 countries and since 2019 this sport has more licenses than tennis in Spain. Moreover, it was one of the few sports that gained participants during the Covid-19 pandemic, and another fact that speaks very well of the values it represents is that 32% of the participants are women. This is important, because any woman who doesn’t do sport can do it well, it’s very sociable. You see it in the clubs. You see parity of women and men on the courts.
One of the things that makes padel different and that makes it so appealing to so many people is that unlike other sports, which perhaps require more classes or more time to have a fun time, it is a sport that the second day you play you do better than the first and the third day you play better than the second. The player sees a rapid evolution and gets hooked.
Here in Ireland there are already several clubs and courts where you can practice it. One of them in Dublin is the Bushy Park Tennis and Padel Club, where more and more people of different nationalities are booking courts to play. I went there to shoot some footage and talk to the owner of the club and a regular player.
Despite the fact that padel is reaching continents and countries where it seemed impossible years ago, there are certain places where its growth stands out more than the rest. France is the country that follows Spain most closely, along with Italy, the two countries where padel is most professionalised. They are followed by others such as Portugal, Sweden, Brazil, Mexico, Chile and the United States.