Padel and its rules

Where does Padel come from?

Padel or padel tennis is a racket sport that can best be described as a cross between tennis and squash.

Over the past century, there were several similar sports which emerged such as Platform tennis (1928), Paddle tennis (1915), Pickleball (1965) and Beach tennis (1970).

All of the above use a smaller court than traditional tennis, enclosed or fenced and are usually played in doubles, with solid rackets and with different types of balls.

However, padel seems to have one clear reference to Enrique Corcuera, who installed a court in the back of his home in Acapulco Mexico in 1969 and initiated a movement which slowly reached Argentina and Spain in the 1970s. The first rulebook was put together by Enrique’s wife, Viviana, former Miss Argentina, who gave it to his husband as a birthday present.

Corcuera playing on his court in Acapulco

The was then introduced in Spain in 1970 by Prince Alfonso, who built two courts in his Marbella Club Hotel. He had spent summer holidays at Corcuera’s house in Acapulco, where he had the chance to experience the game. While keeping the main characteristics, Prince Alfonso introduced several changes on the courts, including wire fence on the sides, instead of walls and Padel. For 10 years, padel was only known among the few people who spent their summer holidays in the Marbella Hotel Club, visited Corcuera in Acapulco, were members of Ocean Club or Club Tortugas, or played in friends’ houses.

On July 12 1991, in La Moraleja, Madrid, representatives from the Spanish, Argentinian and Uruguayan padel associations held a meeting in which the International Padel Federation was created, and Julio Alegría Artiach, one of the most fervent supporters of padel in Spain, became its first president. Members also agreed on the rules for the first World Championship in Madrid in 1992, the finals being held at Expo 92 World Fair in Seville, Spain.

More about the history of padel can be found on the FIP website(


How is Padel played?

Padel is a fast-paced, social sport that is easy to learn. The key objective if for one team to hit the ball over the net into their opponent’s side in such a way that they cannot return it. To prevent them from returning the ball to the other team’s side of the court.

In padel, since the court is enclosed and smaller than in other racket sports, it is essential to know how the ball can bounce from the wall to gain an advantage. Thus, it is a racket sport that requires quick reaction times, the ability to read the game, and a good sense of placement on the court.

The great advantage of padel (and probably why the sport has become so popular) is because it is not dependent on strength, power and serving competency, but it is more about strategy and cooperation between partners, making it suitable for mixing ages and levels.

Padel is mostly played in doubles. Just like tennis, padel is played on a court that is divided by a net. The key difference is that in padel, players also use the walls, as in squash. A regular padel court is 10 x 20 m and is surrounded by walls (glass and metal).

Padel is a simple sport that does not require multiple accessories. In principle, it requires a partner, two rackets and a ball.

A padel racket is made of a composite material and the playing surface is covered in small holes. As a result, the strokes are less powerful and dynamic. Padel rackets come in three different shapes: round, tear drop and diamond. Since it offers the best control, the round padel racket is considered to be the most suitable for the majority of players, from beginner to competition level. The round racket is usually referred to as the control racket.

The ball used to play padel is similar to a tennis ball, only slightly softer.


Padel rules

To a large extent, the rules of padel are the same as in tennis, except that in padel, you serve by bouncing the ball on the ground and below hip height. In addition, special rules apply with regards to the walls. A padel match is most often the best of three or five sets, with a set being the first side to win six games.

Highlights of the rules for beginners.



  • Points: 15-30-40-Game
  • Game: Four points make up a game. When both players are tied on 40, the player with the two points advantage is the winner.
  • Set: A player wins a set after winning six games with a minimum 2 point lead.
  • Match: To win a match, a player or team must win two out of three sets.
  • Deuce: Once tied 40-40, the match must be won by a player/team winning two consecutive points. *Golden Point: New rule (see FAQ)
  • Tie-break: If the score is 6-6, whoever wins the tie-break is the winner. The tie-break game lasts until one side has 7 points or more and is at least two points ahead of the other. 


Intervals & changes

  • In the first and third games, players change ends.
  • When a tie-break takes place, the player’s switch ends every 6 points.
  • When players change ends, they are allowed a 90-second break.
  • When players change ends in a tie-break, they have 20 seconds to rest.
  • In between points, there can be no more than 20s.
  • After each set, players are allowed a two-minute break.



  • The first point of the match is always played from the right side of the court. The server switches sides after every point until the game is over.
  • Players serve for the entire game, while receivers change after every point.
  • The player must serve underhand and below the waist. There are two chances for a  successful serve.
  • Servers must stand behind the service line, while receivers can stand wherever they like.
  • A service must land diagonally over the net to land in the other player’s service box.
  • Receivers cannot return the serve until the ball bounces.
  • Balls that bounce in the service box and strike the wire mesh fence before crossing the service line are faulty.
  • A point will be let (played again) if the ball lands in the opponent’s service court after hitting the net.



  • Generally played as a doubles match (2 vs 2), teams must hit alternately.
  • Balls end rallies after having bounced twice, touched the fencing or hit you or your teammate.
  • It is in play if the ball hits any part of the court (including walls) following its landing on the opposing team’s side.
  • Although the ball can bounce off any of the walls, it can only touch the floor once before returning.
  • A player has one chance to return the ball to their opponent.
  • Volley hits (hits before the first bounce) are allowed. You can even smash the ball off the court as long as it bounces on your opponent’s side first.


The full set of rules can be found on the IFP site.


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