Cesenatico experiences the CSIT premiere Pádel

The “little brother” of tennis has Mexican roots

FC Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp runs a hall in Berlin, the former goalgetter of the Austrian football team Mark Janko is one of Austria's strong players. Pádel has made a huge leap forward and has now arrived at the CSIT World Sports Games. The dynamic premiere in Cesenatico attracts many interested potencial players.

"Our game is a perfect balance to the daily office routine," explains Albert Wanka, the 30-year-old coach of the teams of CSIT partner association ASKÖ. "Many players are now switching from tennis to pádel." New courts are springing up all over Europe, attracting countless new players, including celebrities. "In Austria and Italy, for example, they are actors, comedians and former football players."

Yet the sport was invented by a Mexican: Enrique Corcuera built a court on the back wall of his villa and inspired his friend Alfonso Hohenlohe, among others, to take up the game. Along the way, an Argentine polo team brought the sport to South America, where it spread with varying degrees of success. Mexico, Argentina and Brazil are still the countries that dominate the now official world championships.

The world's best tennis player in 1966, Manolo Santana, also gave a decisive input. Keyword tennis: tennis balls are played with less air pressure and more felt. The former wooden rackets are now technically mature plastic paddles with short handles. The court is about twice the size of a squash court and has glass back walls that are included in the game. So do the side walls, which also play a crucial role and are partly made of wire mesh fencing. Service is from below (i.e. not overhead). The counting method is the same as in tennis. Doubles is played almost exclusively. Singles picks up slowly, but the team spirit in doubles is a crucial factor of the game.

"We are very lucky to be here," says Albert Wanka. He owes this good fortune not only to the CSIT premiere, but also to the fact that the two Austrian teams are big favourites to win the tournament.


8. September 2023 / WSG News

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