What are The Rules of Padel?
Ninh explains the Rules of Padel. The object of the game is for you or your team to win sets faster than your opponent.
Padel, known as Paddle Tennis in English speaking countries, is a variation of the sport of Tennis, and is especially popular in Spain, Mexico and Latin American countries.
It’s a game played as singles (where one person plays against one person) and more commonly, played as doubles (where two people play against two people). To the untrained eye, this looks exactly like tennis, but look a little closer and you’ll notice some significant differences.
Firstly, the court is about 25% smaller than a standard tennis court and measures 20m long by 10m wide, and the net is 88cm above the ground in the middle.
Secondly, the entire court is encased in a perspex wall, that measures 3m high all around and 4m at the ends.
Thirdly, the rackets used are solid, stringless rackets called paddles and the ball is slightly different also.
The game starts with one player making a serve. To do this, they must stand behind the line, bounce the ball on the ground within the service box and hit the ball below the waist, diagonally, into this area of the opponent’s court. The opponent is allowed a maximum of one bounce to hit the ball back over the net onto the other players side of the court.
The idea is to hit the ball onto your opponent’s court and for your opponent to not play the ball back, or to make the ball bounce on the floor twice. Unlike in normal tennis, you can use the Perspex walls the play the ball. This adds an extra dimension to the game and keeps the ball in play for longer.
If you manage to successfully hit the ball onto your opponent’s court without them returning the favour, you score. If you score one point, you score 15. If you score two points, you score 30. If you score three points, you score 40, and if you score four points, and are two points ahead, you win the game.
After a game is won, the other player or pair, serves the ball from the other side to start the next game. Once a player has won six games and is at least two games ahead, they win a set. Winning two or three sets faster than your opponents, wins you the match, exactly the same as Tennis.
But how else is this different to normal tennis? The main difference is the ability to play the ball off the walls. But you’re also allowed to play the ball outside the court itself.
If the ball leaves the area of play, it’s still fair game and players can try and leave the court to play the ball. This makes for some unbelievable plays. But like tennis, there is lots of things you cannot do in Padel. You cannot hit the ball into the net and for it to land on your side of the court. You cannot hit the ball twice in succession. You cannot touch the net. You cannot touch the ball with any part of your body except with the paddle and you cannot commit a double fault. If you commit any of these infractions, this results in your opponent being awarded a point.
That’s basically Padel in a nutshell, but there’s a few things you’ll need to understand before playing or watching a game. For example, fault and double fault. During a serve, you have two chances to serve the ball legally. You must be behind the line and you must hit the ball onto this area of your opponent’s court. Should you fail to do either of those things, this is known as a fault and you must serve the ball again. If you commit two faults in a row, this is a double fault, and your opponent is automatically awarded a point.
Let. If a legal serve hits the net before landing in the opponent’s area, this is known as a let, and the player is allowed to serve the ball again without fault.
Deuce. If the score is tied at 40-40, this is known as deuce, and you now have to win two straight points to win the game.
Advantage. During deuce, if you score one point – you are known to have an advantage. You only need one more point to win the game unless your opponent scores.
Changing ends. To ensure each player doesn’t have any directional advantage on the court, players change ends after the first, third and every odd numbered game played.
Tie Breaker. If the sets are tied at 6-6, a tiebreaker is used to determine who wins the set. Players take it in turns to serve and the aim is to score 7 points. The first person to score 7 points, wins the tie breaker.
The scoring seems a little complicated, but once you watch or play Padel, the rules will become clear.