The Global Journey of Padel: from Mexico to the World  

The Birth of Padel in Mexico 🇲🇽
Our journey into the world of padel begins in Acapulco, Mexico, in 1969. Enrique Corcuera, a sports enthusiast, crafted padel out of a mix of passion, necessity, and a good amount of creativity. Faced with the challenge of limited space for a tennis court and the aim to prevent tennis balls from landing in the neighbor's garden, Enrique took an innovative approach. He deconstructed a tennis court, surrounded the smaller space with walls, and from there, padel's story unfolded. In its early days, Enrique's sport featured wooden paddles and went by the name "Paddle-Tenis."xz
The original padel court in Acapulco, with concrete floor and walls 
Padel Finds Its Way to Spain 🇪🇸
In the summer of 1974, Enrique invited his friend, Prince Alfonso de Hohenlohe-Langenburg, a Spanish businessman and pioneer in developing resorts in Marbella and the Costa del Sol, to play at his Acapulco home. Prince Alfonso developed an immediate fondness for the sport and went on to build two courts at The Marbella Club, the home of Spain’s favourite pro-am tournament during the 1980s, sparking a growing interest in padel across Spain.
The first padel court in Spain at The Marbella Club
By the 1990s, padel had gained considerable popularity in Spain, becoming the sport of the moment. It attracted influential figures from politics, business, and media. Even the well-known tennis player Manolo Santana joined in, organizing tournaments in the South of Spain, contributing to the growing enthusiasm for padel. Today there are over 20,000 padel courts in Spain - the largest of any country in the world - and it’s a sporting DNA across generations. 
José María Aznar, former President of Spain, on the padel court 
Padel Takes Argentina by Storm 🇦🇷
In the vibrant and booming Mediterranean town of Marbella, padel found its way into the spotlight. Julio Menditengui, an Argentine entrepreneur and friend of Prince Alfonso, fell in love with the sport and thought, "Why not bring it home?" In 1975, he did just that, constructing Argentina's inaugural padel court. Today, more than half of the world's top 10 padel players hail from Argentina, leaving quite a legacy.
Padel Game in Mar del Plata in 1989: Javier Maquirriain - Alejandro Sanz vs Alberto Pizzolo - Severino Iezzi.
In its early days, padel was a privilege of private clubs or a leisure activity during vacations in Spain. However, in 1982, Argentina decided it was time to embrace padel. Tennis clubs across the nation added courts, attracting elite players. This marked the beginning of padel's widespread popularity in Argentina, eventually making it the second most-played sport in the country. Any guesses on the top spot? No surprises there—it's a national favorite.
The Scandinavian & Middle East Padel Boom 
The most recent two regions to experience padel mania - Scandinavia and the Middle East. 
Similar to other regions, the Swedish love affair with padel began overseas - largely from sporty Swedish expats in Spain since the 1980s. The Swedish Padel Association kicked off in 2010, but it was in 2019 that the Padel fever truly exploded. From a mere 266 courts in 2018, Sweden now boasts a whopping 4,200 courts in 2022, marking an exponential rise in Padel's popularity.

Maybe a few too many courts in the covid era, but Sweden still holds the highest per capita number of courts in the world and a very active daily playing population - with more than 1 court for every 3000 people. For context, we’re at less than 1 court for every million people in the United States! Fun times ahead.
During 2021 fourteen padel courts were installed in the Avicii Arena in Stockholm
In the Middle East, Padel's journey was more planned with strong state support; it unfolded with Sheikh Hamdan, the Crown Prince of Dubai, introducing the game in 2013 and investing resources into top playing facilities and international tournaments. The UAE Padel Association followed suit in 2014 - and the sport has boomed across the region, particularly in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Covid also saw a huge boom in demand for padel, with courts skyrocketing from 275 in 2019 to 1850 by 2022. Most importantly, the trend is here to stay and demand continues to grow in the region. 
Dubai World Padel Championship in 2022 
Padel Makes Its Mark in the United States 🇺🇸
While padel has been somewhat under the radar in the United States, we're witnessing familiar signs of the padel explosion that shook Sweden and the Middle East. In 2022, the court count reached 180, more than doubling from 2021, indicating a growing interest. But hold on, there's additional news: Deloitte estimates there will be 30,000 courts by 2030 and the next exciting market to watch is the the US! Major players like the New York Yankees are getting involved, who recently sponsored the A1 Padel Tour at the Wolfman Arena in Central Park. New clubs are opening monthly, the grassroot community is super strong, and we couldn’t be more excited to be early supporters in the US padel journey. 
A1 Padel tournament celebrated in Central Park, NY
The Future of Padel 🌎
The rise of padel has been remarkable. From what started as a passion project in Enrique Corcuera’s holiday home in Mexico in 1969 has transformed into a global sensation and the world’s fastest growing sport. Today there are over 40,000 padel courts in 110+ countries and more than 25 million active players.
 
Looking ahead, there is no sign of slowing down. The sport is expected to grow in regions like the US, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Middle East, and Asia.
 
By 2026 the 2023 Global Padel Report, put together by Monitor Deloitte and Playtomic, projects that there will be around 85,000 padel courts worldwide, more than doubling the current court count.

The next big milestone? If the sport continues its current growth trajectory, we, as avid padel enthusiasts, aspire to see padel recognized by the International Olympic Committee in 2025, marking its debut at the 2032 Brisbane Olympics!

In conclusion, padel's journey from Mexico to the world showcases its universal charm. With its mix of social interaction, physical activity, and inclusivity, padel continues to captivate players globally. The sport is on its way to becoming a beloved fixture in the world of sports. 

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