It has been described as a fun, social fusion of squash and tennis and now the European sport of padel has found its way south of the Swan River.
Popular in Italy, Spain and France, the tweak on tennis is played with a low compression ball, stringless racquets and on custom-made enclosed courts surrounded by walls of plexiglass and metallic mesh.
Now the European hybrid has found a home at Melville Palmyra Tennis Club, joining similar courts installed in Floreat last year.
The new courts south of the river were the brainchild of local tennis stars Zach Itzstein and Ashwin Sharma, who first encountered the sport while playing at a tournament in France.
“We were staying with friends in a town called Angers and padel is huge over there; they have a padel court at a lot of clubs,” Sharma said.
“We both tried it and both really liked it. I thought it was a lot of fun; I remember saying to Zach ‘this is a lot more fun than tennis’.
“Australians are really sporty. If you like tennis, you’ll almost definitely like this and we know Australians really like tennis, so we thought if we have a chance, we’d like to bring it back.”
Itzstein said the game was geared around fun and was a more accessible version than tennis, making it a perfect social sport.
“It’s smaller than a tennis court, but it’s always played in doubles. It’s good for teamwork, especially with the smaller court and the fact it can rebound off the walls like in squash makes for fun and exciting rallies,” he said.
“Because it’s a small court and it’s two people, you have to get out of each other’s’ way. You’ve got to talk, there’s not that dead time in between points.
Local tennis stars Zack Itzstein (left) and Ashwin Sharma on a padel court. Credit: Ben Smith
“Power doesn’t necessarily win you the game; you’ve got to place it in the corner and underarm service is another factor that makes it easier.”
Melville Palmyra Tennis Club president Alex Foster said they wanted to diversify and offer something different and were …….