Is padel a threat to tennis? Former British No 1 gives us his verdict
It is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK, but is padel a threat to tennis?
That question has been asked time and again as a sport that is hugely popular in Spain and Argentina starts to find a real foothold in Britain.
Padel is a mix between tennis and squash, a fast-paced, social racquets sport, with the court surrounded by a glass wall that has isnpired suggestions it is a cross between tennis and squash.
Hundreds of padel courts have been installed over the last couple of years and more are coming onboard over the second half of 2023.
With padel clearly growing in popularity at a rapid rate, the question over whether the sport that has so many similarities to tennis is a threat to the popularity of the traditional court game?
Some clubs are taking tennis courts away from their collection and putting padel courts in their place, but former British No 1 Andrew Castle suggests the two sports complement each other.
“I don’t see how padel can be viewed as a threat to tennis in any way,” Castle told Tennis365 at a Game4Padel event in London, are they prepare to open new padel courts at the Virgin Active Chiswick Riverside club.
“They both have their own merits and should not be viewed as rivals in any way.
“I remember being asked about the comparisons between squash and tennis years ago and once again, those two sports work together in a complimentary way.
“If we are looking to drive membership to tennis clubs and they can do that by offering padel as part of their package, then it can be good for both sports.
“We want to get more people coming through the door and part of the driver for that is padel, I don’t see that as a negative in any way.
“Padel is just good fun and people who like tennis will still want to play that sport. They might also want to play padel as well.
“If you are a racket club and you are not offering padel moving forward, then I think you will get left behind. It is an offering clubs have got to have.”
Castle went on to suggest padel’s accessibility to all levels of players will help to build its growth in the coming years.
“It is easier to get reasonably good at padel quite quickly,” he added. “Not to the level the top players operate at, but on a social level with your friends.
“You can enjoy a foursome in padel and have a rally pretty much straight away. In tennis, it is a little more difficult to do that as it is a harder sport to master.
“Good luck to those making the decisions over what comes next for padel in the UK, but I look at what Game4Padel are doing installing so many courts and it is clear that there is real momentum behind this.
“I’m not too worried about the elite end of padel as I see this as a game that you can enjoy with your friends and have a couple of beers afterward.
“If I play a game of this, I feel like I have been through the spinner as it is fantastic exercise and most importantly, it is great fun.”
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