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Sydney Padel facility launch heralds potential growth for the short format racquet sport
Confidence in the potential of the sport of padel - a short format fusion of tennis and squash - has seen the Sydney Sport Management Group and Padel Sydney invest $500,000 in what is Australia's largest Padel sport venue at its Tennis World North Ryde facility in Sydney.
Opened at the weekend, Padel Sydney North offers four padel sport courts and a social/clubhouse space occupying an area that was previously home to two full sized tennis courts.
In their new format the courts have the potential to attract more participants to the space and serve as an easy introduction to racquet games.
Created in the late 1960s, padel is most popular in Hispanic American countries such as Argentina and Mexico as well as in Spain, although it is now beginning to spread rapidly across Europe and other continents.
However, Sydney Sport Management Group (SSMG) Chief Executive, Richard Price sees that the sport also has the potential to not only advance as a stand alone sport but to act as a bridge between Tennis Australia's Hot Shots junior program and the full-court game.
Price explains "padel is exciting as it introduces new participants to an easy to adopt form of tennis.
"Also, from a commercial point of view our yield per court is in the region of $25 per player per hour rather than the usual rates for tennis court hire.
"This can make the facility a financial success and lead to investments in similar venues around Sydney."
The Tennis World North Ryde installation includes a high quality fitout with fittings and the installation team imported from Spain. The surface is an artificial turf although the sport can be played on a variety of surfaces including in indoor sports halls.
The new location is also now home to Padel Sydney, which occupied a temporary pop-up space in Sydney's Entertainment Quarter at Moore Park over recent years but has now relocated.
Variously seen as a fusion of squash and tennis and described as ‘tennis with walls’ and 'squash in the sun', padel is played on an enclosed court half the size of a regular tennis court and usually in doubles.
Rules are simplified, again making it accessible to beginners, while the more confined court offers considerable social interaction opportunities between players.
Padle's potential is also consistent with short format/'street' variants of traditional sports, adapted over recent years to reverse declines in participation in traditional sports.
Shorter format sports such as rugby sevens, 3x3 basketball, baseball5 and T20 cricket can be cheaper, more accessible and easier to learn while also catering for time poor consumers.
With Fast4 Tennis having stalled as a short format form of tennis, padel may well meet the need for a short format form tennis.
The smaller size of padel courts also makes then suitable for confined spaces in increasingly congested metropolitan areas around the world.
Matt Barrelle, President and Secretary of the Australian Padel Federation (APF), is backing the new facility and is hoping that it will host an Australian leg of the World Padel Tour (WPT).
Barelle, known for being co-producer of the Goal! trilogy of sports films over a decade ago, also advises that "the APF is aiming for padel facilities in very major city in Australia."
He added that the non-profit organisation also aims "to grow the sport of padel through member clubs, coaches and players."
Currently there are padel facilities on the Gold Coast, at the KDV Sport facility, and in Adelaide and Perth.
Main image: Padel Sydney North gets its official opening.
3rd October 2019 - Belgravia Group to become first partner of Baseball5 League in Australia
16th August 2019 - 3X3 basketball set to open on the Darwin Waterfront
4th November 2018 - Tennis World Chatswood named top metropolitan club by Tennis NSW
31st October 2017 - ANZ Tennis Hot Shots numbers hit all-time high
28th June 2017 - KDV Sport wins Queensland State Architecture Award
8th December 2016 - Landmark study finds sport struggling to keep youth engaged
3rd May 2016 - Sports Commission urges teenagers to ‘stick with’ sport
12th January 2016 - Sell-out crowd watches FAST4 Tennis at the Allphones Arena
19th February 2015 - ABS notes declining sport and physical recreation participation
10th April 2014 - Greater tennis involvement through MLC Tennis Hot Shots
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