WALES’ first Padel Tennis court officially opened this weekend at Windsor Lawn Tennis Club in Penarth.
The court was installed in April, but the due to coronavirus restrictions the soft-launch event was rescheduled for this weekend.
The launch event saw introductory sessions and coaching from LTA Padel qualified coach Vincent Hivert.
Padel is a racket sport that combines elements of tennis and squash, and is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, with forecasters predict Padel will become an Olympic sport by 2028 or 2032.
The club had a space to develop, although not big enough for a full-sized tennis court. This saw the LTA suggest building a Padel court.
“We couldn’t afford the court costs on our own, so we got in touch with Game4Padel,” said Anthony Phillips, former chairman of Windsor Lawn Tennis Club.
“They paid 100 per cent of the construction costs.
“It’s now open as a pay and play facility. Members of our tennis club can play at a discounted rate but non-members are also encouraged to play.
“Since we built this we know of several clubs in south Wales have had a look at it and are considering it now a their courts.
“We have been the leaders in Wales. We were the first club in Wales to get state-of-the-art artificial clay courts in 2016, and in 2019 we were the only club in Wales to host a tier one professional tennis tournament, and now we’re the first to install a Padel Tennis court.
“It’s already proving popular.
“Opening during Covid has been quite trying due to the restrictions but now we can allow people to play. Our ambition is to grow the number of players now.
“It’s brilliant for youngsters to play. It’s a much easier game to learn than tennis. You can have mixes abilities playing and still have a great match. The rallies go on longer and it’s more fun.
“Pretty much anyone who can hold a racket can have a great rally.
“We hope people who have maybe been a bit intimidated by tennis can come along and give it a go, and then maybe move on to playing tennis later.”