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The fast-growing sport you've probably never heard of

Hazel Wyatt

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With 25 million players worldwide, padel is only tipped to get ‘bigger and bigger’ by tennis star Andy Murray.

Unlike tennis, padel is generally played in a doubles format, although the same scoring system is used in both sports.

All serves are underarm, and once returned, shots can be played on the volley, after one bounce, or after rebounding off the wall. Players can also hit shots into the side and back walls lining the 20-meter-long, 10-meter-wide court on their side of the net.

Padel rackets are smaller, thicker, and squatter than tennis rackets and the hitting surface is made entirely of carbon fibre or fiberglass – different to the stringed rackets you would find in tennis, squash, or badminton, or the wooden rackets used in pickleball.

While similar to pickleball – which has surged in popularity in the US in recent years, earning the moniker of America’s unofficial pandemic pastime – padel has gained traction in other parts of the world, namely Europe and South America.

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