16.4 C
New York

Wimbledon-inspired holidays: The fun of playing padel tennis beside the blue waters of the Maldives

Published:

Rafael Nadal — the best grand slam champion in history — plays it. So does Novak Djokovic. And two-time Wimbledon champion Sir Andy Murray is so won over he’s invested in an organization constructing the courts.

It’s tennis… but not as we realize it. Developed in Mexico in 1969, padel tennis is played on mostly blue-coloured courts a couple of third of the scale of a tennis court, with fortified plastic partitions and a low net — and it’s the world’s fastest-growing sport.

The enjoyment is its accessibility to all ages — you don’t must race about an excessive amount of — in addition to its sociability. Now hotels and resorts across the globe, from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean and the U.S., are cottoning on, providing rackets and balls for anyone who fancies giving it a try.

Ace: Tom Chesshyre gave padel tennis a try within the Maldives, where the game has turn out to be a giant hit. Above is the private resort island of Kudadoo, which opened its padel court in 2020 

Padel is eminently easy to select up, wherever you give it a try, as we found on a visit to the Maldives, staying at Hurawalhi Island Resort in Lhaviyani Atoll — a spot where rain doesn’t fairly often stop play, whether on court or snorkelling to identify manta rays and the colorful kaleidoscope of fish on the island’s reef.

Amid swaying palms and the sound of waves breaking on the shore, we took to the court. Our opponents? A Greek shipbuilding tycoon and his wife.

You normally play in doubles, meaning you share the job of running after balls, and the principles are much like those of tennis — except, importantly, chances are you’ll hit shots off the partitions.

The rackets are smaller than tennis rackets and frequently manufactured from rubber and foam studded with holes — and no strings. Balls are almost equivalent to the originals, just at a lower pressure.

'Amid swaying palms and the sound of waves breaking on the shore, we took to the court,' Tom says of his game at Hurawalhi Island Resort in Lhaviyani Atoll. Pictured on the right are the resort's blue padel courts

‘Amid swaying palms and the sound of waves breaking on the shore, we took to the court,’ Tom says of his game at Hurawalhi Island Resort in Lhaviyani Atoll. Pictured on the appropriate are the resort’s blue padel courts

 

Tom (left) and Spanish padel coach Marcos Fernandez Bevan (right) on the court. ‘It can be played at all levels,' Marcos says of padel

Tom (left) and Spanish padel coach Marcos Fernandez Bevan (right) on the court. ‘It may well be played in any respect levels,’ Marcos says of padel 

In full swing: Rafael Nadal, tennis champion and padel fan

In full swing: Rafael Nadal, tennis champion and padel fan 

Rallies are easy. I find that the key is to keep on with your spot and let the ball come to you, though admittedly you get less exercise this fashion. 

We were soon moving into the swing of it and having an excellent tussle with the Greeks. Each with a set to our name, we toasted the sport afterwards with cocktails on the slick, over-water bar, naturally.

Within the Maldives, where space on the tiny islands is at a premium, padel has turn out to be a giant hit. 

The country’s first court was built on the island of Kuredu in 2018, swiftly followed by courts on nearby Hurawalhi and Kudadoo in 2020, with others planned soon across the 1,192-island archipelago.

Guests staying on the private island of Kudadoo can enjoy a coaching session with padel pro Marcos. Above is a terrace of one of the island's 'residences'

Guests staying on the private island of Kudadoo can enjoy a training session with padel pro Marcos. Above is a terrace of considered one of the island’s ‘residences’

WHERE TO PLAY PADEL IN BRITAIN

  • Edinburgh: Barnton Park Lawn Tennis Club.
  • Middlesbrough: Tennis World.
  • West Yorkshire: Huddersfield Lawn Tennis and Squash Club.
  • Wales: The Welsh Padel Centre, Cwmbran (£80 annual membership).
  • Cornwall: The Point at Polzeath, St Minver.
  • Brighton: Withdean Sports Complex (£5-per-month membership required).
  • London: Will To Win, Regent’s Park.

‘It may well be played in any respect levels — so it’s open to everyone,’ says Marcos Fernandez Bevan, the Spanish padel coach on each Hurawalhi and Kudadoo. ‘It’s more continuous than tennis. You get longer points as you don’t must run much.’

On Kudadoo, Marcos offers tips about effective smashes in addition to lobs, that are ‘crucial shot because it means that you can get to the web’. 

Before becoming a padel pro, Marcos, it seems, played for Real Madrid football club’s third squad until a knee injury ended his promising profession in 2010, aged 19. 

‘Cristiano Ronaldo played on the training pitch next to me,’ he says. ‘The most effective player in history, in my view.’

These islands have further football ties.

After the last football World Cup, many international players descended on Hurawalhi with their families, including Liverpool striker Mo Salah, attracted by its excellent watersports, sunset yoga classes, personal trainers, top-class gym, smart villas with private pools and wonderful beaches.

But back to padel. It’s estimated eight million people now play the sport globally, with at the least 6,000 regular players within the UK on its 150-plus courts (a number that’s growing rapidly).

Playing it within the Maldives just isn’t essential — however it is very beneficial.

TRAVEL FACTS

Seven nights’ B&B in an Ocean Villa on Hurawalhi from £1,610 pp (hurawalhi.com); all-inclusive in an Ocean Residence on Kudadoo from £8,923 pp (kudadoo.com); or full-board on Kuredu from £610 pp (kuredu.com). Round-trip seaplane transfers from £302 pp. Heathrow to Malé return flights from £830 pp (ba.com). Find UK courts at: playfinder.com/uk.

sportinbits@gmail.com
sportinbits@gmail.comhttps://sportinbits.com
Get the latest Sports Updates (Soccer, NBA, NFL, Hockey, Racing, etc.) and Breaking News From the United States, United Kingdom, and all around the world.

Related articles

spot_img

Recent articles

spot_img