Padel forehand shot

The LTA’s vision “Tennis Opened Up” is about making tennis more accessible. It’s about breaking barriers to entry and growing the game of tennis.

One of the LTA’s key strategies is to find new ways to grow participation and padel is an innovative format of tennis that’s fun, flexible, easy to play and extremely sociable.

What is padel?

Padel is a form of tennis that is easy to play, fun and extremely sociable. It is played mainly in a doubles format on an enclosed court about a third of the size of a tennis court and can be played in groups of mixed ages and abilities, as it is not power dominant. The rules are broadly the same as tennis, although you serve underhand and the walls are used as part of the game with the ball allowed to bounce off them.

One of the fastest growing sports across continental Europe, padel has gained increasing popularity over recent years, with over six million people currently playing in Spain.

History of Padel History of Padel addremove

Who invented padel?

Mexican businessman Enrique Corcuera set up the first-ever padel court at his holiday home in Acapulco in 1969 – but the roots of the sport go back further than that.

During the 19th century, passengers on British cruise ships played a similar game with tennis rackets and in the 1910s ‘platform tennis’ became popular in Washington and New York, with paddles replacing traditional tennis rackets.

Over the next decade, changes were made to the courts, adding wooden floors and high surrounding fences to avoid losing the ball in the winter snow.

But it wasn’t until the 1960s when Mexican Enrique Corcuera set up the first recognised court on land he owned in Acapulco. The main difference being that he surrounded his court with walls and a metallic fence of up to four metres on all sides, designed to prevent the ball from escaping onto his neighbour’s land.

He called the sport Paddle Corcuera – and the rest is history.

When did padel become an international sport?

Spanish entrepreneur Alfonso de Hohenlohe, a friend of Enrique’s, was the main driving force behind making padel an international sport.

While visiting Mexico in 1974, Hohenlohe enjoyed this new game so much that he decided to import it to Spain’s Costa del Sol, where he built the country’s first two padel courts at the Marbella Club.

The introduction of the courts marked the beginning of the game’s popularity among the members of this exclusive club, including the tennis player Manolo Santana, who won four Grand Slam titles.

Soon, tournaments were being organised along the Costa del Sol as more and more clubs built their own courts.

In 1975 an Argentine millionaire, Julio Menditenguia, discovered padel in Marbella and decided to take the sport to his country – where it became hugely popular.

Today there are more than two million officially licensed padel players in Argentina, a country that boasts more than 10,000 padel courts.

Padel is also wildly popular in Spain today as well. The European country has more than 20,000 padel courts, with an estimated six million active players. Behind football, it’s the country’s second-most-popular sport.

When did padel become a professional sport?

In 1991 the International Paddle Federation was formed and in 1992 the first world championships were held in the dual cities of Madrid and Seville.

In 1993, the Sports Council of Spain recognised paddle as a sport, and changed its spelling to padel for pronunciation purposes in the Spanish language.

In 2005 the first professional world tour, Padel Pro Tour, was created. In 2013 this was renamed as the World Padel Tour – a circuit that still runs today with events held across the world.

When was padel first played in Britain?

In 1992 the British Paddle Association was formed by a group of passionate British expats seeking to compete in the 1992 World Paddle Championships.

Since then the sport has steadily grown throughout Britain.

In 2019 the LTA announced it will integrate British Padel into the organisation’s day-to-day operations.

As of November 2020 there are around 6,000 active padel players across the UK. There are also currently 114 padel courts in Britain at 59 clubs – a number that is set to grow substantially over the coming years.

In November 2020 the LTA was confirmed as the national governing body for Padel and as part of its Padel Development Plan it is looking to have 400 padel courts in place across Great Britain by 2023.

Rules of Play Rules of Play addremove

In padel scoring is the same as tennis – but there are many differences between the sports. A padel court has walls, so shots can be played off them, like in squash.

Also, unlike tennis, when a ball is served it must bounce once on the floor then hit from below, or at, waist height. When serving, players have two attempts to hit into an opponent’s box.

Players can also volley the ball during a rally however the ball is determined as “out” should it hit a wall directly. In padel, players can bounce the ball off a wall on their own side of the court – similar to squash.

Like tennis, a set is won when a team wins six games and there is at least two games difference – failing that the set is decided by a tie-break. Matches are best of three sets.

Padel courts are designed for four players and are roughly 25% smaller than the size of a tennis court. The speed of the game, combined with the smaller size of a padel court, makes singles play difficult, and most padel matches feature two pairs of players.

Some padel courts are designed especially for singles, but around 90% of all padel courts in the world are doubles specific. At a professional level only doubles is played on the World Padel Tour, the leading competition for elite players.

Find out more about the rules of padel here.

Padel Development Plan Padel Development Plan addremove

One of the LTA’s key strategies is to find new ways to grow participation, and padel is an innovative format of tennis that’s fun, flexible and easy to play.

Integrating padel into the LTA has provided an immediate platform to facilitate the organic growth of the sport, with tennis venues throughout Great Britain already exploring the potential opportunities it can bring to a facility.  

Growing a minority sport from scratch in a country that loves its mainstream sports is a challenging task.

This development plan has identified six growth enablers – the essential ingredients that collectively will ensure the sport is able to scale up from 2020-2023.

  1. Places – increasing the number of courts
  2. People – building a coach and activator workforce
  3. Programmes – making it easy to learn how to play the sport
  4. Pathway – providing the environment to help players reach their potential
  5. Partnerships – working with partners to accelerate growth
  6. Promotion – raising the visibility of the sport to attract players & fans

Click here to view.


We ran a series of one hour practically focussed webinars hosted by Tom Murray Head of Padel.

Padel Development Plan


Venues, Courts, Funding Options & Case Studies Venues, Courts, Funding Options & Case Studies addremove

Wanting to Build a Padel Court?

Find out more by clicking here to view.

Sports and Play Construction Association (SAPCA)

If you are looking for a contractor to take on your padel project then the LTA recommends that they are verified and approved by SAPCA. For more information on SAPCA please see here.

Do you build padel infrastructure? If so. the LTA encourages you to join SAPCA as their technical code of practice will give you more visibility and trust to customers. The LTA will also only promote contractors who are SAPCA members.

Quick Access Loans (QAL)

Venues can apply for interest free loans from £25,000 up to £250,000 via the LTA’s Quick Access Loan Scheme. For more information or to access our Technical guidance on padel or the Club Sinking Fund Calculator click here.

Case Studies

Please see our latest padel case studies where venues have used the Quick Access Loan Scheme to successfully grow and improve their venue and increase the popularity of padel:


Delivered by the LTA Property and Padel team, the webinar covers the benefits of padel, the costs, potential financial returns and how to approach your project.


Coaching & Workforce Coaching & Workforce addremove

Becoming a Padel Coach

Are you looking to teach others how to play padel?

For more information on padel coaching courses, click here

LTA Padel Referee Conversion Course

In order to support the delivery of the LTA Padel Tour and GB Seniors Padel Tour the LTA have launched the LTA Padel Referee Conversion Course to enable tennis referees to transition into deliver padel competitions.

This one hour online learning course will provide existing LTA Licensed Officials with the knowledge and understanding of the rules of padel to enable them to deliver competitions as part of the LTA Padel Tour and GB Seniors Padel Tour.

The course covers the Padel Competition Structure, the rules of padel and the differences between padel and tennis.

If you are an LTA Licensed Official and would like to upskill yourself and learn more about padel officiating you can complete the ‘LTA Padel Referee Conversion Course’ here.

Competitions Competitions addremove

How do I Enter a Padel Competition?

If you are interested in attending an LTA Padel Tour or GB Seniors Tour tournament please take a look at our calendar of events for an upcoming competition:

August - December 2021

Please check back in the coming months for more information on the LTA Padel National League 2022.

Thinking of hosting your own padel tournament? Details on how to do this can be found here.

Claim you Padel Ranking

If you have previously competed in an LTA Padel Tour or GB Seniors Tour event and have a Padel Ranking you must link this to your LTA Membership.

Please complete the short form at the link below in order to retain your Ranking.

Claim your Ranking

View Padel Rankings

To view the LTA Padel Rankings, please click here.

What is My Rating?

We've developed the LTA Padel Rating System to provide a standardised reference for all aspects of amateur and professional play. If you would like to know more about your padel rating then please log into your LTA Advantage members account or register for one here.


National Teams & Performance Players National Teams & Performance Players addremove

National Teams

If an individual shows talent, they should be identified by their local coach or venue and be referred on to one of our National Coaches. Alternatively, any direct enquiries can go through our webform.

Following assessment, we will recommend the best route for player development; this may be to join one of our national training days, or it could lead to individuals representing Great Britain as part of our GB National Team.

Our aim is for talented players to develop their skills in a performance environment leading to potential selection onto our GB National Teams. Selected GB players get the opportunity to compete internationally at annual events, representing Great Britain at World Championships and European Championships.


Eligible to represent Great Britain. Players must hold, or be eligible for, a British passport.

Evaluation of players

Players have many opportunities for recognition, which are available in a variety of categories and age groups (from juniors to adults and seniors both male and female):

  • Invitations to National Camps
  • Domestic tournament results (LTA Padel Tour)
  • International Competitions (FIP, WPT)
  • Selection by a National Coach

Selection process

Final team selections are made by the National Coach for each category and age group. To find out who the National Coach is for a particular category please contact us.

Performance Players

Performance players must:

  • Be eligible to represent Great Britain or, be committed to becoming eligible to represent Great Britain and have a reasonable prospect of doing so.
  • Adhere to the LTA Code of Conduct at all times and complete necessary anti-doping and anti-corruption training as required.

NTC Access

The NTC will act as a performance player base whereby players from around the country will be invited to on-going sessions throughout the year. Subsidised training sessions will be available in a variety of categories for selected players.

Performance players will be able to train weekly from the NTC (subject to individual player agreements and availability). Players will initially be categorised as either a Group 4 or 5 for NTC Performance Player Access.

Performance coaching staff will provide guidance to performance players for training and competition, and encourage players to compete in sanction tournaments (Grades 1 & 2, and FIP events).

LTA Padel (National Tour)

The LTA Padel National Tour provides a circuit of tournaments designed to give up and coming players the opportunity to gain experience in their quest to become professional padel players. It provides competition for professional players in the UK in-between competing in professional events both in the UK and abroad, as well as providing a national level open competition circuit. The tournaments are grade 1 and grade 2 and therefore primarily aimed at performance players with a rating of 5.0 or better, although any rating may enter.

As of 2022, these higher graded events will be strategically scheduled around the domestic GB FIP-Tour events. This is to allow players to compete for the reward of feed-up Wildcards into the relevant swing of Pro-Series events.

For further information and full schedule, please see the Competitions section of the website.

Contact us Contact us addremove

If you have any questions about padel then please see our FAQs page or contact us by filling in our webform.

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