A few thoughts on today’s emerging sports: from padel to pickleball.

Also published in: Tsport 348

Padel first appeared in the pages of Tsport in 2018, with the presentation of a cover specifically for this game. More space was given to it within the Tennis Special in 2019, still uncertain whether to call it by its Spanish or English name, paddle.

Only three years have passed, and never has any sport shown such a boom: the clubs affiliated to the FIT (Italian Tennis Federation), which were 361 in 2019, are now (1 December) 1402, while the number of courts, which increases day by day, probably exceeds 5,000. On Tsport, news and reports on the new padel centres, both large and small, now follow one another in every issue.

Good old tennis, which had a boom in the days of Panatta and Barazzutti, had lost appeal in the 1990s when so many courts were turned into five-a-side football pitches. With the resurgence of the racket effect at the turn of this century, tennis was joined by padel, which was ‘easier’ to play and better value for money for the operator. Today, with the boom of the third decade, it is often the five-a-side football pitch that is transformed into a padel court.

But in the meantime, moving even more towards economies of scale, there appeared a lighter racket, with a perforated ball, and a court that from the 20×10 metres of padel, required even less space: the pickleball, which from the first pioneering experiments is now beginning to spread in Italian padel and tennis clubs.

At this point, still reducing the size of the racket and the weight of the ball, all that remains is to play on the last possible court: the table tennis board.