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ORIGINS AND HISTORY OF PADEL SPORT

"Who Invented It? Where Was It Born? and How Did It Reach Spain? And What Has Been Its Evolution in Spain and the Rest of the World.


ORIGINS AND HISTORY OF PADEL SPORT


The History of Padel

There are several versions regarding where and when padel originated; however, the version provided by the Spanish Padel Federation has been widely accepted and recently confirmed by the international federation.


ORIGINS AND HISTORY OF PADEL SPORT
First Padel Court

Origins of Padel

World Padel Tour presents this intriguing documentary that delves into the history of padel.

From the world's oldest court in Acapulco, we trace the early steps of the 20x10 sport. With the participation of Viviana Corcuera, wife of Enrique Corcuera, Ignacio Soto Borja, notary and WPT ambassador, and Diego de La Torre, a padel pioneer, we explore the beginnings of a sport that is crossing borders.


Who Invented Padel?

Enrique Corcuera, Padel's Creator

ORIGINS AND HISTORY OF PADEL SPORT
Enrique Corcuera

Enrique Corcuera is considered the inventor of padel.

Enrique Corcuera, enamored with the fronton at his home in Las Brisas, decided to add a three-meter-high wall opposite the existing one, placing a net in the middle and enclosing its sides with four medium-height walls.


Where and How Was Padel Born?

Padel was born in Acapulco (Mexico) in 1962 when a contractor named Enrique Corcuera adapted a plot on his 20x10 meter estate by adding walls at the back and sides to prevent vegetation from encroaching on his court at his Las Brisas home.


What Was the First Padel Court Like?

What the "official chronicle" doesn't mention (as stated by Enrique himself) is that he built the wall opposite the fronton wall because the black ball they played with would end up in the neighbor's property, making the game tedious once it passed the players' defensive line.



ORIGINS AND HISTORY OF PADEL SPORT
Acapulco Padel Court

First Padel Rulebook

The first rulebook was written by D. Enrique's wife, Viviana, a former Miss Argentina, who edited and gifted it to her husband as a birthday present.


History of Padel in Spain

Who Introduced Padel to Spain?

A Spanish friend of Mr. Corcuera, who used to travel frequently to Mexico, brought the idea to Marbella. This man, named Alfonso Hohenloe, set up a court at the Marbella club he owned.

It was Prince Alfonso de Hohenlohe who, in 1970, built 2 "courts" at his Marbella Club Hotel shortly after spending several summers in Acapulco, where he got to know the new game at his friend Enrique Corcuera's home.


First Padel Court in Spain


Prince Alfonso made some modifications to his courts. He partially integrated a wire net instead of side walls. These courts hosted the famous "Pro-Am" tournaments during the 80s and 90s, sponsored by "Smith & Smith" stores in Las Arenas, Bilbao, Spain, owned by Mr. Julio Alegría Artiach, a key figure in Padel's history for his vision, promotion, investment, and lifelong dedication to the sport's dissemination and development at all levels.



ORIGINS AND HISTORY OF PADEL SPORT

Many polo players from Argentina learned padel in Marbella and, upon returning to Argentina, began promoting padel as a fun and easy game with affordable facilities.

As a result, padel began to expand in Argentina and Spain.


In Spain, padel started spreading to major cities and sports clubs in Madrid, Barcelona, Andalusia, Galicia, Catalonia, etc. The rapid success of this sport attracted tennis figures like Manolo Santana, who began organizing tournaments and promoting padel along the Costa del Sol, where several clubs started building their own courts.

The necessary infrastructure for practicing this sport was created throughout the country, and a National Tournament Circuit was organized, held at the most prestigious clubs in Spain. After this, padel began to grow limitlessly due to the Federation and the emergence of some televised Padel championships (few and regional).


Padel in Argentina

Padel reached Argentina in 1969.


The first courts in Argentina were built at Club Tortugas and Ocean Club in Mar del Plata. Tedy Pini built a court at Los Acantilados, and La Biznaga Estate of the Blaquier family, Haras Vacación, and El Turf of the Menditeguy family also had a court.


The restaurant La Marca de Playa Grande (Mar del Plata) built a covered court at its rear. This is how padel began to be practiced, including in private homes.


In 1982, there were no more than 12 courts in the whole country, and it was precisely that year when padel began to develop, eventually becoming a true social phenomenon, leading to the current growth and implementation of the sport.


In Buenos Aires, the San Juan Tennis Club was inaugurated in 1982. This club, with eight tennis courts in a vertical building, constructed two padel courts based on the suggestions of some founding members like the Aubone brothers. These courts turned out to be historic in the launch of Argentine Padel.


In Argentina, in 1984, the San Jorge Club with 14 padel courts was inaugurated in San Isidro, becoming the club where the best players in the country gathered. Padel spread to the major cities of the Province of Buenos Aires, including La Plata (its capital), San Pedro, San Nicolás, San Isidro, Bahía Blanca, Trenque Lauquen, and other provinces and cities like Mendoza, Rosario, Paraná, Corrientes, Bariloche, Neuquén, as well as along the entire Atlantic coast, where significant padel court complexes began to be built.


According to available documentation, it was during July 1987 in an assembly meeting when the Platense Paddle Association (APPTAS) was established, making it the first formally constituted entity in the world related to our sport.


  • 1988 – APA (Argentine Padel Association) is created and recognized by the Argentine Olympic Committee (COA).

  • 1989 – SANE launches the world's first rubber paddle (approved by APA, thanks to Cecilia Bacigaluppo).

  • In 1988, a group of friends led by Oscar "Cacho" Nicastro founded the Argentine Paddle Association (APA), whose leaders and founding members were Alberto Villaverde (first President), Jorge Horacio Brito, Costancio C. Vigil, Mauricio Macri, Oscar Nicastro, Joaquín del Molino Torres, Jose Luis Abuchdid, Julio Cesar Pérez Corral, Diógenes de Urquiza Anchorena, Gustavo Maquirriain, Guillermo Stanley, Arturo Carlos Toro, Miguel Alonso, Fabián Ranucci, Carlos Iñurrigarro, Juan Carlos De Marco, Cecilia Bacigaluppo, Héctor A. Salvat, Gregorio Ignacio Sanz, Julio Ratti, Héctor G Arribas, and Fernando Garcia Pulles, all enthusiasts of this new game and committed to forming an association that would represent Padel and establish its philosophical, regulatory, and technical objectives. The association would plan, execute, and administer the leadership of Argentine Padel nationally and serve as an international reference.


Members of the first Argentine

Padel association

In 1991, Padel was considered the second most played sport in Argentina after soccer and even surpassed soccer in sales in sports stores.


Padel and Institutions in Spain


Regarding the Spanish Padel Association, it is worth noting that it registered using the acronym P.A.D.E.L, which stood for "promotion of sports, educational, and recreational activities."


  • 1990 – FEP (Spanish Padel Federation) is established.

  • On July 25, 1991, the International Padel Federation was established in Madrid, with the presidency held by a Spaniard, Julio Alegría Artiach, who created an international match circuit and finalized an international game regulation.

  • In May 1993, padel took a decisive step towards consolidation when the High Council of Sports recognized it as a sports discipline. A year later, the constitution of the Spanish Padel Association was approved, registered in the Register of Sports Associations of the High Council of Sports.

  • At the regional level, the Madrid Padel Association was founded in January 1992, now registered in the Register of Sports Associations of the Community of Madrid of the General Directorate of Sports. This is not the only autonomous community where initiatives of this kind have emerged: in Catalonia, the Basque Country, Galicia, Andalusia, and Extremadura, there are Territorial Associations.

  • Since 1993, the International Padel Championships have been held in Spain (Madrid), featuring the world's best players. This tournament has become the most important at the international level, both for its quality and prize money.

  • The Professional Padel Circuit was named Padel Pro Tour for 7 years until 2013 when players signed contracts with the new organizers, World Padel Tour, making it the new professional padel circuit.


First Padel World Championship


The finals of the first Padel World Championship were played on the island of La Cartuja, in Seville, on a Padel court that arrived from Argentina a few days earlier, called "Palacio de Cristal." It was the first time that the old continent came into direct contact with a court with glass walls.

Eight national teams participated in this World Championship:

  • Argentina,

  • Spain,

  • France,

  • England,

  • Italy,

  • Mexico,

  • Paraguay,

  • and Uruguay.

Argentina was crowned World Champion in both men's and women's categories, defeating Spain in both finals.


History of Padel in Other Countries


International Padel
Maldives Padel Club

Although Padel was born in Mexico in 1962, it was only in 1991 that the Mexican Paddle Association was founded, a highly anticipated event for players in that country and abroad, driven by Don Alejandro Burillo Azcarraga, a sportsman and enthusiastic Padel player.


On April 27, 1992, the Mexican Paddle Federation was established, initially featuring Viviana Corcuera, Luis Corcuera, Ignacio Soto Borja, and Alonso Cuevas.


Padel is spreading to different European countries, where their respective federations have been formed, achieving great success in terms of the number of affiliated players and the construction of facilities. Spain, in this sense, plays an important role in promoting padel in Europe. Today, France, Italy, Great Britain, Belgium, Austria, Germany, and others have formed their respective federations.


Padel was included as an exhibition sport in the 1995 Pan American Games in Mar del Plata, Argentina.


It was in 1982 that the first international competitions were held, in Uruguay. It wasn't until 1993 that the sport returned to the country where it was born, Acapulco, Mexico.


Curious Regulation Difference in Spain and Argentina


Before 1997:

In Spain:


  • there was a game called "serve and volley," where the rest of the serve could be volleyed,

  • the synthetic grass surface made the game much slower than in Argentina,

  • the wires had a three-meter extension around the perimeter without exceptions,

  • and the famous "pico" (peak) was a protrusion of up to five centimeters at the junction of the fronton walls with the wire connecting the two playing fields, driving the Argentinians crazy because the ball, when hitting these protrusions, would bounce forward instead of following its trajectory.


also, the name was Spanishized and called "PÁDEL."


Simultaneously, in Argentina:


  • the rest of the serve could not be volleyed, making the return almost more important than the serve,

  • surfaces were generally made of polished concrete, with some synthetic paint,

  • there were no "picos" (peaks),

  • the side wire, in eighty percent of cases, could be 1.30 to 1.40 meters between both trinquets, providing a more than comfortable alternative to get the ball out of play with a cross smash,

  • and its name was the original "PADDLE."


1997 – Unified Regulation


With the unification of rules, achieved in Barcelona in 1997, our sport was definitively named Padel. Players could now volley the rest, courts had no peaks, and the wire was 3 meters around the perimeter.


Surfaces were no longer linked, and everyone could choose their materials freely. In the early years, courts were seen with artificial and natural grass, synthetic surfaces, clay, concrete, parquet, tiles, and even brick dust.


Today, they are mostly made of synthetic grass and cement painted with products for sports installations.


What Is Padel?


Padel is the only sport that combines the best elements of tennis, racquetball, and squash.

It is often played on cement surfaces, but there are courts with synthetic grass and supreme court floors (currently, synthetic grass surfaces are predominant).


Padel is played almost entirely in exclusive complexes dedicated to this sport. There are clubs with a single court, up to complexes with 20 covered courts (courts can be covered or uncovered)."


Font: Padel Star

Writter: Raul D. Martin                                                                    

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