Part of the reason for its fast growth in the UAE has been the lack of courts. But all that’s about to change. Tom Murray, Head of Padel at the Lawn Tennis Association (who have taken padel under their wing), says there were only 40 courts in the UAE in 2019. Now there are 165 courts, with targets to have 250 by the end of the year and 400 by the end of 2023. Since you can fit three padel courts on the same space as one tennis court, it’s far easier to find places to put them, meaning that as well as being added to existing tennis clubs (the LTA is encouraging this to help flagging memberships), courts will soon be popping up in places you wouldn’t see tennis clubs: on rooftops, in railway arches and in car parks.
There’s a plan for five courts next to the Power League pitches in Shoreditch, golf clubs are keen to invest in the sport and Babington House has partnered with Padel Social Club, to offer free use of two courts to members for the summer. if you want to book padel tennis
Why padel is becoming more popular than squash
“Padel is so inclusive,” says Murray. “It’s social, it’s played in doubles, it’s easy to pick up because the bat is small and close to the hand, so anyone with no racket skills can be having a good rally in 5-10 minutes. someone really good can play with someone who’s just started and you have some fun dynamic points with rebounds. And other sports like squash and racketball are male-dominant, but in Spain – and hopefully in the UAE- the split male-female ratio is 50:50.There aren’t many sports that can say that
Hunter is excited to be part of the UAE’s new paddle movement. “I have been a sports fan since childhood and have never seen anything like it. It’s good to be at the beginning of this wave. Trapped in Spain for the past 20-30 years, he finally crosses the border. We are committed to making this more visible globally.
This is an exciting time as it has attracted the attention of celebrities, broadcasters, and commercial partners who will start supporting it worldwide.” It is covered by Sky Sports in Italy and ESPN broadcasts the matches in South America and the United States.