Invented in Mexico in 1969, Padel is now one of the most widely played sports in Spain. It is virtually unheard of in the United Kingdom but many of Torrevieja’s British and Irish residents are taking to the sport. The game is sort of a mix of tennis, racketball and squash and is not too difficult to learn, which makes it ideal for players of all ages. It is equally enjoyable as a serious sport or just a means of getting some fresh air and exercise. Unlike tennis, padel is only played as doubles which can be a problem if you can’t find a partner. Padel courts and clubs can be found in both Torrevieja and Orihuela Costa, and if you don’t have a partner, some cater for this. By either calling or e-mailing the club beforehand, they can usually pair you up with a partner.
The courts are 20 metres long by 10 metres wide with a dividing net and glass walls that are used as part of the game, similar in a sense to squash. Padels are the same as the ones you see people playing with at the beach, only more intricately designed. They have no strings and are either solid or perforated. In look and size the balls are similar to tennis balls, only slightly softer in texture. Apart from players using an underhand serve, the scoring and rules are mainly based on that of tennis.
Most recreational facilities in Torrevieja take advantage of the excellent weather and padel courts are mainly found outdoors, sometimes in gated communities and parks but predominantly at sports centres and complexes. The amazing Sports City offers players 7 courts that are maintained to competition standard, as well as a fantastic choice of other sporting facilities and an Olympic size, indoor swimming pool with diving platforms.