Paddle, the sport that was born in Mexico

The paddle is a Mexican sport created by the sportsman Enrique Corcuera, who in its beginnings managed to create a court, similar to a tennis court, surrounded by walls, which made it a unique court.

Paddle, the sport that was born in Mexico
Enrique Corcuera, father of the paddle. Image: Padel Expo via Facebook

The paddle is a Mexican sport created by the sportsman Enrique Corcuera, who in its beginnings managed to create a court, similar to a tennis court, surrounded by walls, which made it a unique court since the walls could be used so that the ball could bounce and be part of the game. The success of this sport was able to expand immediately to countries such as Spain and Argentina, which achieved that the paddle was recognized by the International Federation.

This sport was born spontaneously in 1962 in a court on his property Las Brisas del Puerto de Acapulco, Mexico, when Corcuera had the idea of putting up four walls, mainly to prevent vegetation from entering his court, and later to give shape to Paddle-tennis. The sportsman pointed out that he had already played Paddle-tennis but without walls inside a court that inspired the sport of tennis in the Ingenio de Estipac hacienda in the municipality of Villa Corona in Jalisco (other sources indicate that it was in the USA), where a racquet called Paddle was used, and with which he had the idea of taking the wooden racquet to a different court.

It was in a 20 x 10 lot where Enrique began to create the cement walls on the sides and ends of his property, putting a net in the middle of the court, and on the sides were the entrance and exit gates. The game would have four players inside the court and using the same "Paddle" racquet and using the tennis ball since among so many attempts to find ideal balls for this modern sport, it was decided to continue using the tennis ball, because it fits the shape of the racquet.

By 1968, the Paddle had spread to Spain, where Prince Alfonso de Hohenlohe took this sport to practice it; between meetings of friends for months before, Corcuera had invited him to one of his houses to practice the sport, which left him amazed and it was then when he decided to bring the sport to the European country. With two courts at the Marbella Club Hotel, owned by Hohenlohe, Spain managed to take over a little more of the sport, where some modifications were made to the paddle.

The first World Paddle Tournament was held in 1992 with the participation of eight countries: Argentina, Mexico, Paraguay, Uruguay, Spain, France, England, and Italy. In that year, Argentina won the women's and men's categories in the finals against Spain.

A year later, the paddle arrived in Argentina after Argentine citizens arrived at the Marbella Club, where they got to know the paddle after tourists from all over the world stayed there. For almost two decades, the paddle was only known in three countries: Mexico, Spain, and Argentina; but it was until 1987 when in Argentina, with the help of Cacho Nicastro, founded the Paddle Association of Argentina, where they intend to give greater impetus to the sport, so they decided to create a paddle tournament by categories, after more than 10 years creating paddle courts and paddle courts.

Shortly after, and with partners from Spain, Cacho Nicastro decided to hold the first meeting between Spain and Argentina, between players, mainly from tennis and other sports, who were interested in paddle tennis. This sport was beginning to become a world-class sporting activity, since without counting the main exponents, Spain and Argentina, there were courts in the southern provinces of Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, France, and Italy.

It was mainly the Argentines who took this sport to other countries, as those who emigrated abroad created paddle courts, sharing the passion and weakness for this sport in Argentina, where it came to compete with soccer, becoming the second sport with more sales and people who accepted paddle. At the end of the '90s, Mexico was already establishing sports relations with the Argentines, to hold a meeting between Mexicans and Argentines, where Bibiana Delavedova and Enrique Corcuera participated, who made the first Mexican Delegation.

A year later, the Mexican Paddle Association was founded, promoted by Braulio Azcárraga, a sportsman and paddle player, and integrated by Bibiana Delavedova, Enrique Corcuera, Ignacio Soto, and Alonso Cuevas. Meanwhile, in Madrid, Spain, the International Paddle Federation was established under the leadership of Julio Alegria, who was in charge of establishing the rules of the game worldwide.

How is paddle tennis played?

Once the participants are inside the court enclosed within four walls, you must consider the position of the players and the referee (if you consider that there should be one), who will be the authority in the tournaments. The paddle is a sport played in pairs and is scored in the same way as tennis, which means that the winner is the one who plays three sets.

The ball must be served from waist height, and the ball can bounce off the walls, as long as it does not bounce on the floor. It is important not to leave dead spaces on the court, as it is vital that both players are on the sidelines, so they can get to the ball more easily. The balls should be yellow or white in color and these have less air pressure compared to tennis balls.

Difference between paddle tennis and tennis

The similarity in some aspects could make both sports to be confused, however, there are details that are not similar and that are important to highlight in order to differentiate paddle from tennis. Both the ball, the strokes, and the scoring are elements that go hand in hand, they only have some details such as the pressure of the ball, which is different but does not change much, the strokes some are similar, however, the paddle offers more variety of strokes as it uses the walls to maneuver more with the ball, and the score is rated the same.

The paddle tennis net is different since it must have a maximum height in the center of 0.88 meters while the ends have a height of 0.92 meters. The tennis net is the opposite, at the sides, the height is 1.07 meters while at the center, the height reaches .914 meters. The number of players in tennis is often one against one, and sometimes, it becomes pairs, however, it is not so common, while in paddle tennis, officially, it must be played in pairs, however, there are courts that facilitate the game playing one on one but it is not official.

In tennis, there is an umpire judge as in paddle tennis, however, it is more common in paddle tennis for the players to agree on the score and the validity of the point.

The courts in both sports are also different since paddle tennis uses mesh and walls made of glass with which you can interact and be part of the game, also, the courts are smaller and with grass. While in tennis, the courts are wider and with a floor, usually synthetic and hard, although sometimes you can play on synthetic grass as well. Also, the racquets in tennis are different from paddle, since tennis is constructed with strings made of nylon while the paddle racquet is designed with carbon fibers and is smaller.

Source: El Sol de la Laguna