Tennis moves with the times

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The new padel court

In sport things are always changing, and so far as tennis is concerned one of the most significant events in recent years has been the sudden growth in popularity of the padel tennis version of the game.

Played on a reduced size enclosed court, the game is still basically tennis but with some similarities to squash (the ball can be played off the back walls of the enclosure) and although tennis balls are used, rackets are replaced with a “padel” not dissimilar to an outsized table tennis bat.

Rye Tennis Club has had a padel tennis court for some years which has recently been the subject of a much needed refurbishment. However, with the growth in popularity of the game it was decided two years ago to build a second court and after the usual planning, as well as Covid-related delays, the state of the art new court is now open.

Playing padel tennis

With interest from club members growing it had been felt that the old court (one of the first to be built) was insufficient to meet demand and so the new court was planned. Costing £50,000 it took just over a month to build with local Hastings firm Martin Gurr undertaking the groundworks and specialists Carbonpadel doing the construction. Rye now has the distinction of having both the oldest and one of the newest courts in the country.

Sitting prominently in the centre of the club, its very 21st century looks and glass wall make it easy to watch the play, helping to increase the interest in padel tennis still further and the current padel section membership of 120 is expected to grow.

For those new to the game, there are two coaches happy to teach newcomers as well as helping to improve the more experienced players. The additional court also enables matches – both internal and against outside clubs – to be played and the first one, against Holiday Extras who have a padel court for their staff, takes place next month.

The opening of the new court coincides with the centenary year for Rye Lawn Tennis Club and as well as celebrations for members in June, there will be a centenary open day on August 23. Mainly aimed at juniors and with Tim Henman and Wimbledon head coach Dan Bloxham present to coach throughout the day, there will also be the opportunity to have a go at padel and learn how to play one of the fastest-growing sports in the UK.

Further information on Rye Lawn Tennis Club can be found on the club’s website.

Image Credits: Rye Tennis Club , John Minter .

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