New Year, New You, New Sport

Have you caught the padel bug yet? This fast-paced sport sits somewhere between tennis and squash, and it’s been capturing the attention of players around the globe in the past couple of years.

In fact, the International Padel Federation reports that more than 25 million people now play padel in over 90 countries. In Europe in 2021, it’s believed that 15,000 new padel courts were registered. Padel advocates include Andy Murray, Tim Henman, Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, to name just a few. 

Portugal has certainly jumped on the padel bandwagon. Sports clubs along the length of the Algarve have added padel courts to their offering in recent years. Vilamoura Tennis & Padel Academy, Albufeira Padel Clube and Lagos Tennis Club are three of the largest, while Pedras Tennis & Padel Academy and Padel Clube VRSA serve those towards the eastern end of the Algarve.

In the western Algarve, the Ocean Padel Club in Praia da Luz has the first courts with a two-tone, blue Mondo WPT championship surface. Meanwhile, at Burgau Sports Centre, two new padel courts are being constructed, along with a full-sized singles court. It is expected to be operational in May.

Part of the appeal of padel is how easy the game is to pick up and how fun it is to play. Padel courts are roughly three-quarters the size of tennis courts, with a central net and walls around the sides. Players use bats rather than stringed racquets and can bounce the ball off the walls, much like in squash. 

As well as tennis clubs adding padel courts and padel clubs springing up along the Algarve, luxury resorts are also embracing the sport. The Campus at Quinta do Lago, for example, now includes four padel courts, while Amendoeira Golf Resort in Silves has added two padel courts to its extensive sporting offering. Families from around the world have bought properties at Amendoeira Golf Resort in recent years and many have enjoyed spending time on the padel courts. Alda Filipe, Sales and Marketing Director at Kronos Homes, which owns and operates Amendoeira, comments:

“Our padel courts have been popular since they opened, and we expect this to continue as the rest of the world wakes up to this exciting sport. We are delighted to welcome those who have never tried padel to our courts, as well as seasoned players looking to refine their skills.”

The social element of padel is also part of the appeal. The game is played in doubles, making it ideal for couples and friends to take to the court together. Combined with the fast pace at which padel games proceed, the sport offers an excellent blend of fun and fitness. 

Being able to play somewhere with nearly year-round good weather is, of course, a major bonus and is one reason why so many padel clubs have popped up along the Algarve. Over the border in Spain, meanwhile, there are more than six million active padel players. The sport has become the second most popular in the country, behind football. 

While Portugal can’t quite match Spain’s six million players, the sport continues to grow here. The 2021 figures from Air Courts estimate that there are now nearly 1,000 padel courts in Portugal, serving over 200,000 active players. Player numbers in Portugal grew significantly during the pandemic, as many people prioritised staying fit and healthy while also finding ways to socialise outdoors rather than in. 

So, if you’re looking for a new sport to take up in the New Year, why not take the opportunity to try out your skills on the padel court? 


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