A Scottish sports business backed by tennis star Andy Murray will open its first padel court in Dundee this year.
Edinburgh-based Game4Padel is developing a chain of playing facilities across the UK for padel, a tennis/squash hybrid game.
The firm plans to open its first Dundee court in Forthill, Broughty Ferry, in late spring or early summer of 2022.
Game4Padel, currently valued at £18 million, claims it already operates more venues than any other UK padel provider.
Chairman Jim McMahon believes the sport will grow massively in popularity within the next five years as more courts spring up across the country.
‘Sociable exercise for all age groups’
Padel is played in a glass-enclosed court roughly one-third of the size of a tennis court (10m x 20m) and with similar rules.
There are four players in each game and players serve underhand in the glass-bordered court.
Padel uses the same scoring and net as tennis but with smaller rackets, while incorporating some aspects of squash such as returning off the back and side walls.
Chairman of Game4Padel Jim McMahon said: “Padel is combination of squash and tennis but with all the bad bits taken out.
“In tennis, unless you’ve got a top class match, the ball is out of play most of the time.
“But in a padel match, because you’ve taken most of the power aspects out of the game, the ball is in play a lot more.
“Since you play as doubles, it’s also incredibly social. The game is designed to get the ball in play more and be one of strategy and not power.
“People who have never played a racket sport before, or perhaps not played for a while, often pick it up really easily — particularly kids.
“It’ll be great to have a padel court in Dundee and get people along for the introductory sessions to try it out.
“It’s for all age groups and for anyone looking for sociable exercise.”
‘Fastest growing sport in the world’
Last month, the firm announced it had signed the number one British padel player, Tia Norton, as a company ambassador.
She joins existing tennis ambassadors Andy Murray, Andrew Castle and Annabel Croft, as well as Welsh rugby icon Jonathan Davies.
Jim believes padel’s popularity will increase among Scots as the firm plans to set up more courts around the country.
He added: “Padel is considered to be the fastest growing sport in the world.
“It’s sweeping across parts of mainland Europe, such as Sweden, which has around 3.500 courts.
“Our bet is within five years there will be thousands of padel courts in the UK.”