It is said that a padel similar to British cruise ships was played in the 1920s, but it is the Mexican Enrique Corcuera who is considered to be the padel ‘s ancestor after in the 60’s started playing padel like the one we play today. It was not until 1974 that the rules that apply today were established.
A Mexican tennis court with walls
This is how it should have happened: In 1974, Alfonso de Hohenlohe, a Spanish prince, was in Acapulco (Mexico) where he visited his friend Enrique Corcuera. Corcuera had built an undersized tennis court on his plot; a facility with walls on all sides. The ball could be played using the walls in a similar way as in squash and a similar perforated rack was used as was used for the existing sport of paddle tennis . After some changes to the rules of both the game and the playing field, Prince Hohenlohe took such a liking to the game that he had the first two courts built at his private Marbella Club on the Costa del Sol.
Padel became the indoor sport
Padel quickly became the indoor sport of the resort. Celebrities, including several sports profiles, got the sport to take a few more steps in Spain. The Argentine millionaire Julio Menditenguia was a regular visitor to Marbella (and a good friend of Hohenlohe). He saw what a success padel was becoming in Spain, and decided to develop padel in Argentina. Within a number of years, there were 10,000 courts and 3 million players in Argentina. The sport quickly became popular in both Latin America and Spain. From Spain in particular, the sport spread northwards via holidaying tourists, mainly from the UK, and is today a both widespread and popular sport with millions of practitioners daily.
Federation and tour
In 1991, the International Federation of Padel was formed in Madrid. In 1992, the first world championship was played and has done so every other year, since then.
In 2005, the Pádel Pro Tour was born, the first professional padel tour that brought together the best players in the world. The tournament was played in Spain and Argentina and the first – historic – winners were Carolina Navarro and Cecilia Reiter on the women’s side, and Juan Martín Díaz and Fernando Belasteguín on the men’s side.
In 2012, the World Pádel Tour (WPT) took over as the unifying tour for the world’s best players.
Spain today has at least as many courts as Argentina and about 2 million practitioners. Padel is the second largest sport in Spain in terms of number of practitioners.