Padel Rises in the UK as Stars Push this Sport to Fame
Padel is the dark horse sport that has been stealing the show in the recent decade. It has been obscure in the UK but that is about to change.
Padel is played by over 10 million people worldwide and is the second most popular sport in Spain after football. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, and former Chelsea and England captain John Terry are huge fans.
The Lawn Tennis Association has now verified that British Padel has been incorporated into the organization’s day-to-day operations, providing the sport with a massive platform to grow at record speed.
Tennis365 spoke with the LTA’s Head of Padel Tom Murray at the inauguration of a new court at Stoke Park Country Club, Spa, and Hotel for an exclusive interview about the sport he has championed for so long.
Let’s take a look at how this tennis star sees a bright future for a game that has universal appeal for everyone.
How did you get into padel?
“When I first came across the sport, there was an air of mystery about it. I have always loved tennis and any variation on the game is interesting, so I wanted to have a go a padel and as soon as you play once, you will never give it up.
You see this little beach bat with no strings on it and it looks like an amateur sport that someone has made up to combine squash and tennis. Then you go on to YouTube and type in world padel tour and you see all these mental rallies, with balls being hit out of the box, people running through gates to get it back and you realise how exciting this is.”Tom Murray
How would you describe the game?
“It has elements of squash as we play shots off the wall, but it clearly much more closely related to tennis. Squash is more of game that relies on the use of the wrist, but with padel you play vollies as you would in tennis and a lot of the shots are similar.
Obviously, we play shots off the wall in padel and that takes a little getting used to, but the sport is a lot easier to pick up than tennis. If you tried to play tennis for the first time, it would take a little while to get a rally going, but after a few minutes on the shorter padel court, you will be starting to enjoy some lengthy rallies as it is easier to master.”Tom Murray
There are now 60 courts in the UK, which is more than double the number from last year. Every other country in Europe linked with their national tennis federation has gone from 50 to 250 courts almost overnight, which is enormous for the sport.
It is now recognized as a sport in the United Kingdom under the auspices of the LTA, and there is a chance that it will be admitted to the Olympics for the Los Angeles games in 2028.
Stars are now pushing padel further into the spotlight
This is fantastic news for padel tennis. Tennis players like Jamie Murray, a big fan of padel, rugby stars like Max Evans, and Olympic badminton hero Gail Emms have all played padel.
Even former Chelsea and England captain John Terry and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp are big fans of the sport, so it’s great to have so much high-profile support for padel.
A court has recently been installed at Manchester City’s training facility and Liverpool’s. West Ham is building a court, which will help to expand the game’s audience because we will have high-profile athletes playing padel regularly.
What are you waiting for, check out these clubs in the UK now!
1. David Lloyd Bushey
2. West of Scotland Padel Club
3. Bridge of Allan Sports Club
4. Chelsea Harbour Club
5. David Lloyd Chigwell
6. Eddie Irvine Sports
7. Edinburgh Sports Club
8. Padel Club 8. Huddersfield Padel Club
9. Guernsey Padel Club
10. Hatton Sports Club