What does Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique and former England captain John Terry have in common apart from football?
Well they are all big fans of padel.
And obviously you are now wondering “What is padel?”
Padel is a racquet sport, a mix of tennis and squash and played with what else but a paddle.
It is a four-player sport played in doubles on a smaller version of a tennis court, surrounding by glass walls. The rules and scoring are similar to tennis, except the ball can be played off the walls around the edges, providing it only bounces once on the defending teams side and makes its way back over the net.
The enclosed court is a third the size of a normal tennis court. Scoring is the same as normal tennis and the balls used are similar but with a little less pressure
The sports was invented by Enrique Corcuera in Acapulco, Mexico on 1969. Spain is saiod to have the most number of players with an estmate of 10 million players around the world.
Padel is said to be growing in Europe and is now courting some of sort of controversy in England.
The Lawn Tennis of Association has adopted the sport and their decision to dig up a couple of clay courts at their center in Roehampton, East London has not exactly endeared to the tennis community.
With Rafael Nadal himself giving the game a try, padel is ahead of tennis and just behind football as the most popular sport in Spain. His peer in England Andy Murray has even invested in the game setting up his own company, We are Padel.
Like his coach, Liverpool’s start striker Mohamad Salah has also picked up the sport, just in case his career in football comes to an end.
Nearer to home, Singapore has its very own padel court at the Swiss Club, built in 2014.
The International Padel Federation was formed in 1991 and it currently has almost 30 affiliated countries. The Padel World Championships was initiated in 1992 and has been dominated by players from Argentina, Brazil and Spain.
The Junior Padel World Championship is currently taking place in Castellón, Spain and is scheduled to end this Saturday.
Many tennis associations are adopting the fast growing sports and see the potential for further growth. The game is slowly catching up in Asia, with Japan, China, India, Qatar and Thailand all having their players at international events.