Why Padel has become an international hit
After our introductory Padel lesson we caught up with our trainer Matias to find out more about the wildcard sport and why you’ll be hooked as soon as you step onto the court…
USC: How did you first discover Padel?
A friend and colleague of mine introduced me to Padel when I lived in Majorca. He knew I used to play tennis and there was a Padel club near my home so he asked if I wanted to try it – and that’s how I started.
USC: What makes Padel unique?
It’s fun from the moment you step on the court. You don’t need loads of lessons to enjoy it – you can play good games almost straight away. There’s always loads of action in a game all the time.
In Spain it’s common to play with your girlfriend or boyfriend – it’s a great sport for couples. Padel is a team sport and a very social sport in Spain. We’d play Padel with friends, spend time together in the club, have a beer and catch up.
USC: So Padel is very popular in Spain?
It’s actually the second most practiced sport in Spain after soccer. There’s around 3,000 clubs in Spain and more than 4 million players. Most people who play learnt about the sport from spending time in Spain and now it’s becoming more popular in Europe.
USC: Why does Spain love Padel?
Padel was invented in Mexico by Enrique Corcuera of Mexico in 1969. Then in 1974 a Spanish royal, who owned his own tennis, club tried the sport in Mexico and and he created a Padel club in Spain. Then tennis players began playing the sport and more Padel clubs were built.
I started to become well-known in Marbella in the ‘90s and then along the entire Mediterranean coast. Then one of our presidents started playing and it became even more popular, so in the last 15 years it’s really blown up.
USC: So Enrique Corcuera just made up Padel?
Exactly. Apparently he was so into it that for his birthday one year his wife compiled all the rules in a book and gave it to him as his present. That was the first official document of Padel.
Originally the court was built using bricks as it was the cheapest material but they realised that people can’t see through bricks. That’s why they decided to make it with glass – so people can watch the matches. And the games are really entertaining to watch.
USC: What advice would you give to Padel beginners?
Most people who try Padel once will come back because they really like it. The more you play the better you get at it, and playing at a high level is exciting and addictive as the ball is going so fast. Some people play 3 or 4 times a week.
USC: What’s the story behind Padel Berlin?
Alex Hillbricht opened the club in 2012 – he was born here in Berlin and a former professional tennis player. He discovered Padel when he was training in Spain and decided to open a club here. This was the first Padel club in Berlin and fourth in Germany.
USC: What health or fitness advice do you have for USC members?
Sports should always be part of your weekly routine no matter what. Never mind how tough your week. Even if it’s a small workout of ten minutes, always keep active.
During my life I’ve had several surgeries and I made the mistake of not doing sports. For example I had knee surgery but could still do pull-ups or sit-ups and work on my upper body. You always have to move. Even when you don’t feel motivated it’s always positive to do sports.
USC: Are there any workshops or events coming up in the Padel community?
We want to bring some global Padel players to our club so people can see the quality of the sport when it’s played at a really high level.
If you watch the best Padel points on YouTube you won’t be able to stop watching. People are falling over, diving, hitting the ball off the wall – it’s a super exciting sport; and that’s why it’s so addictive.