Looking for a new recreational activity that combines tennis, racquetball, and squash? If so, then Padel might be just what you’ve been seeking: And, with a new, world-class facility, right here in Las Vegas, your timing couldn’t be better.
First, a quick history of the game, and its origins with the international jet set.
Back in 1969, down in Acapulco, a successful contractor named Enrique Corcuera adapted the squash court in his home to include elements of Platform Tennis, thereby creating what he termed Paddle Corcuera, thus becoming the inventor of Padel. Corcuera’s wife, Viviana (a former Miss Argentina) compiled, edited, and published the first official set of Padel rules and regulations, as a gift for her husband.
Then, in 1974, Corcuera’s buddy, Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg* (founder of the Marbella Club Hotel) came to Acapulco to visit; and after a few rounds in Corcuera’s home court, he was hooked. Upon returning to Marbella, he built Spain’s first two Padel courts, having implemented a few modifications from Corcuera’s home court, to enhance the competitive aspects of the game.
The following year, five-time Argentine polo champion, Julio Menditeguy—a member of Prince Alfonso’s Marbella Club—found himself taken with the sport, and when he returned to Argentina, brought Padel with him.
Padel grew and expanded around the world, and in 1993, the US Padel Association was founded in Chattanooga, TN, followed two years later by the American Paddle Association, in Houston, TX. Public courts were built and opened in Miami, FL in 2009.
In 2013, the World Padel Series was established as the premier Padel Championship. Gathering Padel’s most elite international players, WPS has held tournaments in countries such as Monaco, Portugal, the UAE, and the United States, and currently hold 12-20 tournaments per year, as well as a final Master Series as the culmination of each season.
Today, nearly 10 million Padel enthusiasts can be found playing on one of the 40,000 courts around the world; most of which are located at one of the world’s 4,000 clubs. A majority of these clubs are located in Spain (3,500), and many of the rest can be found in Europe (200 in Italy, 120 in France, 23 in Germany, and 16 in the UK). Meanwhile, clubs have begun sprouting up, in the US, including five in Texas, four in California, and now, in Nevada, which brings me to Las Vegas’ new Real Racquet Academy.
Founded by Martin Sweeney, Real Racquet Academy opened at the Emirates Golf Club back in 2012 and was the first organization to bring Padel to Dubai. Having found success in the United Arab Emirates (the UAE now boasts 25 Padel courts), Real Racquet Academy—driven by the desire to increase the visibility of Padel in new markets, to introduce players of all ages to Padel, and to promote healthy living and competition in a friendly environment—recently opened an absolutely lovely flagship facility in Las Vegas, on South Buffalo at West Oakey Boulevard, complete with a well-appointed clubhouse and eight Padel courts.
Padel is played in doubles, on a court (roughly a third of the size of a regulation tennis court) made of glass and mesh. Thanks to being quick and easily learned, and with rallies that last longer than those in tennis, the sport is both fun and exciting. Players use a short racquet of carbon fiber, known as a “Pala,” and a low compression tennis ball. Serves are made underarm, with shots played either before or after the ball bounces off one of the surrounding glass walls.
Due to being played in doubles, and easily played by enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels, it’s rather perfect for families who enjoy partaking in such activities, together; with the game becoming more technically challenging and more quickly paced, as players’ skills improve.
And thanks to the technological savvy of RRA’s founder, Sweeney, RRA members can download the Real Racquet Academy app (available for both iOS and Android), which allows the club to identify you and your skill level, and match you with players of a comparable skill level. It’s also a great way to meet new friends.
Real Racquet Academy
Click HERE for info
Get into it!
[Editor’s Note: * Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg was more properly referred to by his full name, Prince Alfonso Maximiliano Victorio Eugenio Alejandro María Pablo de la Santísima Trinidad y Todos los Santos zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg]