Padel History in brief
Padel was invented in Acapulco Mexico in 1969. The inventor of Padel, Señor Enrique Corcuera knew how to have fun. He was bored with Tennis & Squash and realized how to combine the best elements of both these racket sports. He envisioned Padel can be more fun, more social, and easier to learn than any other racket sport. He simply combined the best ingredients and created a cocktail called Padel.
The First Padel Court
The first Padel court was built in Acapulco, Mexico Enrique Corcuera in 1969. Over time, Padel has become a popular sport played around the world. Mr. Corcuera had a nice villa and a larger garden in the backyard, but the space was not large enough for a Tennis court. This fact did not stop the inspiration and hunger to create a racket sports court. He created a mini tennis court and soon realized how the garden was growing into the court. So Enrique had to stop the growth by building walls around the court. He decided to build concrete walls around the court area.
It took multiple decades before the Padel court started to look even close to the current modern versions with glasses and metal fences up to four meters on every side. In the original Padel court, there was no grass or artificial sports turf on the floor, and it was much more slippery than you can see by today’s standards.
The inventor of Padel, Enrique Corcuera has unfortunately already passed away and cannot tell a detailed history of his innovation of Padel to a wider audience. After he passed away, his inheritance and wife decided to sell the house and successfully sold it to the new owner. The new owner’s family decided to demolish the Padel court and establish a swimming pool in the same spot in the garden. It is naturally very unfortunate that the real original Padel court does not exist anymore
Platform Tennis is very often mixed with Padel as it with a quick view might look the same. In practice, it is quite a different game and has not really grown or found an audience. You can recognize the platform Tennis court that has extra space outside of the border lines and the distance to the walls from the border lines is approximately 1,5 meters. Also, rackets are less developed compared to Padel bats. Padel court is 10 meters x 20 meters and does not require a lot more space in the surroundings. The whole court is used for playing and even outside of the walls as you might have seen in professional matches.
Padel in Mexico
Development of Padel in its original country Mexico has been very slow in the earlier decades. In the recent years we can recognize small growth in number of players. Today in Mexico there are 181 locations with 555 Padel courts. Majority of these venues have two (2) Padel courts and there are only few real Padel clubs with more than 6 courts.
We can see Padel is growing in Mexico and that can be also seen a positive driver for the growth of this great game in the whole American continent. In Mexico we recognize an opportunity to further growth by introducing more professionally managed Padel clubs with a larger unit size.
The journey to Spain
The history of Padel dates back to the early 1970s when it was introduced to Spain by the owner of the legendary Marbella Club. In the early 1980s, there were a few clubs in Marbella that were dedicated to padel tennis as well as other sports and leisure activities. These clubs started hosting tournaments where there were only men competing against each other; however, this wasn’t enough for them so they decided to create an international competition called “The World Cup” which was held in Madrid in 1992. Team of Argentina won the gold medal game 3-0 against Spain. Uruguay won bronze and United Kingdom came fourth place.
After this event took place, many people started playing padel tennis like crazy because they wanted to see if they could defeat the best players out there! That said – we can safely say that most people know about how popular Padel Tennis is in Spain today and growing even further. In Spain we can currently see more and more professionally managed Padel clubs opening with larger court capacity. It is great to see how Padel is still increasing its popularity in the most developed country of Padel.
Padel became a professional sport in the 1990s
Since early 90s Padel increased its attractiveness and popularity mainly within former tennis players or people who never really found their way to make a career in tennis. Now we are talking about both players and coaches. The hard fact is that tennis much more difficult game to master and takes multiple years to have the same satisfaction people can reach in Padel after few times of playing. Obviously this makes Padel also much attractive sport for children to learn and build a professional career much more easily compared to tennis, badminton, football or ice hockey.
Nature of Padel is unique and as it has been so far mainly played professionally in Spain and Argentina. The reality of nationalities playing professionally is very limited. Mainly top players are from Argentina or Spain and over the decades they have been only few exceptions by Brasilian players.
World Padel Tour (WPT) has been seen as a tour of competitions where all the world’s highest ranked players are participating and competing. WPT was established in 2013 and has naturally given a lot to the development of Padel worldwide. Majority of the tour competitions are still organised in Spain and since 2021 number of new countries has increased. Sweden was one of the first countries who organised an official WPT competition and this was done by Ledap Group. World Padel Tour is owned by Spanish investors and mainly by Damm beer brewery and everyone can see themselves as a main sponsor in the WPT competitions.
Premier Padel is the newest and highly ranked competition tour for professional Padel players. They are differentiating themselves from WPT that they allow less professional players to try their luck and opening doors to hungry young players who are most potentially the future stars in Padel. We consider this has been a wise decision to create attractiveness within larger audience and target group of players. Premier Padel tour is owned by investors from Qatar, Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), who are also the owners of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) football team. Premier Padel has become attractive and admired by the Padel professionals, because of higher prize amounts than World Padel Tour.
APT Padel Tour is another privately owned professional circuit of Padel. APT was launched originally already a decade ago, but it lost their attractiveness against World Padel Tour as the market size was still very small and number of professional Padel players were only 10% of the current number of players. APT is owned by a business man Fabrice Pastor from Monaco and was re-launched in 2020.
Global Presence and growth
Globally Padel is growing very fast and gaining more and more popularity from other racket sports like tennis, badminton and squash. All these three other formerly very popular racket sports are in decline in number of players. As there are more than 25 million active players worldwide it creates amazing platform for strong word of mouth for the further growth of Padel in the next ten years time. Padel is already played in over 100 countries and will even further more continue to grow.
Padel is a sport that’s growing fast and is the next sport of choice for many. Padel was invented in Acapulco, Mexico by Enrique Corcuera and was in the early 1970s introduced to Spain. We warmly welcome you to the community of Padel where you can find new friends and have a lot of fun.
For further reading you might find interesting to read about the recent growth of Padel from our Padel Market Outlooks or executive summary of Global Padel Report by Playtomic and Deloitte.
We encourage you to also read Padel in brief, this an article we have created for quick reading how to play Padel and to learn the rules.
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Such an interesting story of Padel history! Well written article.
Thank you for the feedback! We embrace the history and pedigree of Padel. From Acapulco since 1969 – PADEL1969.