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Where to play padel – the biggest sporting craze in Dubai

Where to play padel – the biggest sporting craze in Dubai

Where to play padel – the biggest sporting craze in Dubai

Padel is the new buzz word in fitness. Here’s the full lowdown on the tennis alternative and the best places to serve up a treat…

Move over Wimbledon – padel is the new kid on the block. Invented in 1969 in Mexico by Enrique Corcuera, padel was recognised as an international sport in September 2019 and is one of the world’s fastest growing sports by participation.

What is padel?

Played predominately as a doubles game, it’s very similar to regular tennis with a bit of squash thrown in: the court is about 25 per cent smaller than a tennis court and enclosed in glass walls, which can also be utilised during play – and metal mesh fences that can’t.

When it comes to keeping score, you go up 15, 30, 40 as usual. The serve is under arm, the racket is smaller and more of a flat bat, and the balls have a lower pressure. It’s often called padel tennis, which can be confusing as there’s another less-played sport called Paddle Tennis, which is similar but doesn’t use walls.

Right, you’re ready to play. Here are the five top places to volley, lob and smash your way around a Padel court…

Smash Padel and Fitness Club

Newly opened in April, Smash offers three courts alongside its modern indoor-outdoor gym on The Palm. In fact, if you take out a yearly gym membership you get eight padel court bookings thrown in for free. If you’re not one for the gym, padel courts can be booked for Dhs200 for a 90-minute session during off-peak hours, or Dhs320 during peak hours. Racket and ball hire starts at Dhs30. Playing singles? It’s Dhs95 per person to book.


Smash Padel and Fitness Club, Golden Mile Galleria, Building 1, Palm Jumeriah, Dubai open 6am daily (peak hours: Friday, Saturday and after 4.30pm weekdays). Tel: (05) 8527 6274.

Real Racquet Academy X Dubai Golf

Want to take a break from tee time? Emirates Golf Club, Jumeriah Golf Estates and Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club all have padel courts run in association with the Real Racquet Academy.  The clubs offer everything from group practice, ladies only sessions, private classes, specific cardio training sessions, a kid’s padel club, tournaments and friendly competitions.  Head of Real Raquet Academy Padel Dubai, Toni Salord heads up the team of experts that are ready to help you improve your game, but if you’d rather just book a court for a knock around that’s also possible, with prices starting at Dhs 300 for 90 minutes off-peak and Dhs 380 for peak times. There’s a 25 per cent discount for members.

Real Racquet Academy, various locations, 7am to 11pm daily. Tel: +971 56 179 8324.