Jamie Murray has insisted padel is not a threat to tennis, as he backed the sport to rise in prominence in the coming years.
Padel has been hailed as the fastest-growing sport in the UK, after a year that has seen more and more courts installed and participation numbers growing.
Yet tennis still looks at padel as something of a threat to its domination of the racket sport market, with the political maneuvers of recent weeks highlighting the jostling for position.
The International Tennis Federation made an attempt earlier this month to assert control over the sport of padel and effectively become its new governing body.
Padel already has a governing body and with the Dubai-backed International Padel Federation also pressing its claims to be a leader in organising the future of the sport.
A cross between tennis and squash, played on a court surrounded by a heavy-duty glass surround that allows players to hit the ball after it bounces back off the wall, the game originally started in Mexico and quickly swept through South America and then into Europe.
Seven-time Grand Slam tennis champion Jamie Murray is a big supporter of padel and has invested in Game4Padel, who are leading the installation race of courts in the UK.
Speaking exclusively to Tennis365, Murray insisted the sport will grow alongside tennis and may even be played by more people in the UK than the long-established racket sport.
“I don’t think padel is a threat to tennis in any way,” said Murray, with his brother and two-time Wimbledon champion Andy also an investor in Game4Padel.
“I don’t see any negative to having a couple of padel courts in your tennis club as it adds to the offering for members and could bring new people to both sports.
“The sport is going to grow and grow and we need to increase the number of courts that people can play on. When we get people out there, you can see the enjoyment and as a social sport, it is great fun.
“If I go and play tennis with friends, it’s not a lot of fun because the game is hard to learn and there are a lot of aspects to it.
“With padel, we can get out there and have some good rallies quite quickly. That’s the beauty of the sport.
“You are playing in a smaller space, you don’t have to run down a couple of courts to collect the balls and the sociable aspect of this sport is better than tennis.”
Andy Murray’s former coach Jamie Delgado also spoke to Tennis365 about the future of padel, in his role as a Game4Padel ambassador.
“Tennis is quite a hard game to play,” Dalgado told us.
“Whether it is the bigger court or the equipment that is harder to use, to play it at a decent level, you have to have played from a young age and put a lot of hours into it.
“With padel, even if you have never played before, you can pick it up quite quickly and have a good game. So it is much more attractive for some people to play padel than tennis.
“You can have a bit of banter with your friends playing padel, try to work out how to play it and it is also a good workout doing it.
“Tennis can be a bit tough to get rallies going when you start and you spend a lot of time picking balls up, but that doesn’t happen with padel.
“We now have lots of courts and there are plans for more courts to go down so it is defiantly getting bigger each year now.”
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