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Sport 360: Stay active this summer with Padel at Sportsmania
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Sport 360: Stay active this summer with Padel at Sportsmania

Squash and tennis might well be the widely played racquet sports but here’s your chance to try out padel tennis in Dubai, which is growing in popularity in the UAE.

Having only being founded in the 1970s in South America, the only way has been up ever since and that’s no surprise considering it combines tennis, squash, and badminton for a perfect sociable workout.

The game is widely played in the US and Europe, particularly in Spain, and although it’s not as familiar as football, cricket or tennis, padel is picking up the pace in the UAE.

Padel Pro UAE is playing their part in popularising the game, having opened at Sportsmania in JLT in March this year.

“We only opened in March and the response has been really good,” said Carolina Gallo Frias, club director, and head coach.

“We had a lot of players playing the game and although it’s the summer now and the facilities are still open, we expect many of them to return once they’ve come back from their holidays.”

It’s played in a doubles format with the court one third the size of a tennis court, which has walls at either end.

One big advantage of joining Padel Pro is that they organize matches on your behalf as well as offering coaching. A single 90-minute match costs Dh100 per player, while it’s Dh75 for one hour.

Packages are also available. Per player and for 90 minutes, five games costs Dh450, 10 games is Dh800, 15 games at Dh1,125 and 20 games priced at Dh1,400.

Private lessons start from Dh250 per session while semi-private classes range from Dh400 to Dh1,200. There’s even more reason for Emirates airlines platinum cardholders to play, as they can take advantage of a 30 percent discount.

Whether you’ve played the game before or just want to try it out for the first time, Frias believes there are plenty of positives by playing.

“First of all, it’s a very easy sport to play and it’s very social,” she said. “If you’re someone who has just moved to Dubai and don’t have many hobbies, then this is a good way to meet new people.

“We also arrange games so you don’t need to know someone to play a game. As long as you know how to hit the ball and move, then that’s fine. We want them to have fun and it’s very easy to play.”

WHAT: Padel Tennis
WHERE: Sportsmania, Dubai
WHEN: On-going
CONTACT: For information visit Padel Pro UAE on Facebook & Instagram or visit www.padelpro.ae

Credit: Denzil Pinto

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Coach Carol Martinez Visits Padel Pro UAE!
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Coach Carol Martinez Visits Padel Pro UAE!

Padel Pro UAE had the privilege of hosting Coach Carlos Martinez, head coach of the professional tennis player and 2 time Grand Slam winner, Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Coach Carlos is a huge fan of Padel and tries to play as often as possible. He was in Dubai last week coaching Svetlana for the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships and managed to sneak in a few games with our Club Director, Carol Gallo.

We won’t reveal the results of the matches but let’s just say they were as competitive as any tennis matches with grand prize money on the line!

We look forward to having Coach Carlos back at our club soon and wish Svetlana the best of luck in her upcoming tournaments!

Let’s Padel!

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Dubai Club Founders Look to Whole New Ball Game with Padel!
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Dubai Club Founders Look to Whole New Ball Game with Padel!

Padel may well be the biggest sport that you never knew existed. The game is almost like a cross between tennis and squash but is less physically demanding than both.

It is also tremendously popular. Invented in Mexico in the late 1960s, it grew across Latin America before firmly taking root in Spain, where an estimated 6 million to 10 million people regularly play, making it the country’s second-most popular sport after football.

Carolina Gallo, who is a director of the new Padel Pro club that has recently opened at the Sportsmania complex bordering Discovery Gardens and Jumeirah Lakes Towers, said that the game is so popular in Spain that padel courts are as prevalent at affluent villas in the country as swimming pools.

Ms. Gallo, a Spanish national, is a former tennis professional who switched to Padel a few years ago after suffering an injury.

“I started playing Padel because it doesn’t hurt the joints as much, because of the surface,” she says.

The game is played on smaller courts, with transparent walls that can be used to direct shots. The rackets, or Padels, used are also solid, and the game is played in pairs.

Padel is also growing in popularity in the UAE. Ms. Gallo was recruited to manage the country’s first padel club and later went on to run a padel academy, also in Dubai. There are also private courts for Emiratis at Nad Al Sheba, and there are courts at Abu Dhabi Country Club. A UAE Padel Association was set up in 2014 with Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum as its president. Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed is also a keen supporter of the sport.

 

Padel Pro has been set up by three friends, Mohamed (Mo) Galal, Karim Nsouli, and Hussein El Reda, with Ms. Gallo as the club director and founding member.

Mr. Galal and Mr. Nsouli are close family friends who first began to play padel together almost three years ago. Separately, Mr. Galal had been looking for a site at which he and Mr. El Reda could build a multi-purpose sports facility.

“What changed was Mo’s obsession with the game,” Mr. El Reda explains. “Myself, I don’t play Padel. But he stopped me one day and said: ‘If we want to really have an impact on this market, we should prob­ably look at this up-and-coming sport’.”

The partners spent a full year looking for a suitable venue to build their own club and have built four championship-standard courts on a strip of land immediately adjacent to Sportsmania, whose facilities they share.

Mr. Nsouli said that their decision to launch Padel Pro was due to the fact that they felt there was a gap in the market.

“We want the club to feel like a family atmosphere,” he said, just after the venue opened in late March.

“I was brought up in London. I was part of a tennis club and that was very social and very interactive. There was men’s nights, women’s nights, ladies’ mornings, kids’, mixed doubles. And that’s exactly what we eventually want to incorporate into this club.”

The partners’ long-term goal is not only to develop the club in Dubai but to establish Padel Pro as a brand that could operate several venues across the region.

“Yes, it’s a business. Yes, we’re trying to make money – of course, like anything,” says Mr. Nsouli. “But at the same time, we are trying to grow the game that we love.”

Mohammed Al Mutaiwei, the vice-president of the UAE Padel Association, says Padel is a fast-growing sport in the UAE, but one that is growing organically. He says “there is a huge demand” for the padel courts at Nad Al Sheba, which is regularly booked out through the winter months, and that many players have built private courts at their own villas.

“It’s not a very aggressive game. It’s very easy on the body, the joints. It’s not like some other sport like squash which is very hard on the ankles,” he adds. “Anyone can play.”

mfahy@thenational.ae

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