- Kenya, and by extension East Africa, officially opened its doors to the first Padel Tennis Court in the region
- Padel tennis, a game that can be loosely described as a mixture between tennis and squash, is played inside glass cages
- The court is located at the Nairobi Jaffery Sports Club, with more plans underway to build more courts as the game continues to gain more traction worldwide
The Nairobi Jaffery Sports Club Ground on Thursday, October 6th, played host to the launch of the first Padel court in East Africa.
Arguably the fastest-growing sport in the world, Padel incorporates tennis and squash with a little bit of badminton.
Played between two teams of two people each, Padel heavily borrows from tennis and squash rules. It is played on a standard court size of 10 metres by 20 metres inside a glass cage.
The scoring system is similar to tennis, with one point equalling 15 points, two points equal 30 with three points being 40. Point 4 is game one. Deuces and Advantage are also similar to tennis.
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It is played in a glass cage where the ball is allowed to bounce off the cage, just like in squash. Unlike in tennis, where one is allowed to use a couple of serves as the flat serve and slice serve, only the underhand is allowed in Padel tennis.
A game can last as long as it takes to complete the sets.
The court was built in partnership with sports company Play On. The company's founder Caleb Karegyesa stated that Padel tennis would provide more avenues to grow the country's economy. He further encouraged Kenyans to take a keen interest in the game that traces its roots in South America.
Spain currently leads the World Rankings of the game, followed by Argentina.
During the launch, players expressed enthusiasm and hope that Padel will be a full Olympic sport by 2024. The game is currently recognized by the International Olympics Committee but still needs at least 75 national federations to achieve Olympic status.
Speaking at the event, the guest of honour, Mr Sameer Murali, opined that Padel tennis would offer more opportunities for people to interact.
“For many people, sports have become a way they want to hang out with their friends. They want to do healthy things as opposed to going to a bar or anywhere else.”
The turf at the Jaffery Sports club is the first in East Africa. Plans are already in motion to build other courts in Watamu. South Africa and Egypt are the other countries in Africa that currently have Padel courts.
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