There are more than 1,000 padel clubs, 11,000 courts and it estimated that between 2 to 6 million people in Spain practice Padel. Spain is also currently leading the world in Padel growth economically. With these data, it is not surprising that it has become one of the most popular sports in Spain because of how many people play it. In terms of popularity, Padel overtook tennis in Spain and now is trying to increase its global reach.
Although Spain and Argentine are the biggest padel nations in the world, padel has spread to about 57 countries worldwide, particularly in international locations with tennis traditions. France, Italy, Portugal, and Sweden are other countries where Padel has grown the most in recent years.
Since the very beginning, Padel and Spain were related. Furthermore, in the last decades has become so popular. Why? It doesn’t require an extraordinary physical condition and is fun to play and watch. Mix them both and you will have this enormous success! But let’s start from the beginning.
To know the origins of Padel we need to go back to 1969. Enrique Corcuera, who is considered the inventor of Padel, decided to adapt his Squash court at his home in Acapulco, Mexico. Alonso of Hohenlohe was a Spanish friend of Corcuera who visited him and played this game at Enrique’s home. After being fascinated by this racquet sport he decided to build the first two Padel courts in a tennis club in Marbella in 1974.
Marbella is the Spanish home of this fast-growing sport. In the beginning, Padel was an elite sport that attracted leading tennis figures such as Manolo Santana, who began to organize tournaments and expand Padel throughout the Costa del Sol. The key moment in the evolution of Padel in Spain was the 90s when prominent figures from the political, business, and journalistic fields became fond of this sport.
It took several years for Padel to remove that stigma of elite sport and 25 years to be extended all over the Spanish geography. In 2005 Padel was already well-establish in Spain with more than 1,000 clubs. Since then, Padel hasn’t stopped growing becoming one of the most popular sports in Spain.
The secret of its success
Padel is one of the most played sports in Spain. But why so many people love Padel? There are some reasons that you have to know to understand it! To start with, learn how to play Padel is relatively easy and players improve so fast. That gets them motivated and eager.
Padel also requires less physical effort than tennis, for example. Being not a very demanding sport physically or technically makes it something everybody can play and enjoy. Actually, it is an intergenerational game in which children, grandparents, and parents can play all together.
A lot of parents decide this is a good sport for their kids because they can start playing it very young, it gives them hand-eye coordination and promotes teamwork. They also can start doing rallies immediately so they love it.
Another reason to love Padel is that it promotes social relations. You have two doubles team in a small court, which makes social conversation between players an integral part of the game and, in the meantime, allows you to meet new people. And it is an entertaining sport to watch with spectacular points!
The last thing we want to highlight about Padel is it is a fairly economical activity. It is not anymore that elite sport we talked about before, but we can find cheap Padel racquets and get accessories at good prices.
Maybe now you understand why Padel is so popular in Spain and why it is one of the fastest growing sports around the world… However, the best way to understand it is by playing it!