Marina Padel opens at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi

The facility offers stunning water views of the marina on Yas Island

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Padel fans in Abu Dhabi are in for a treat as Marina Padel has opened its doors at Yas Marina.

Players can enjoy impressive water views as a backdrop while playing in one of four courts in the 800-square-metre facility. Professional coaches will offer lessons to beginners, intermediate and advanced players.

Players will be able to view availability, book courts and participate in events and competitions through the club member app, Playtomic.

“We are excited to build the foundations of what will be Abu Dhabi’s leading padel club. For us it’s not about the courts, it’s about fostering a sense of community among the people playing. It’s about creating a supportive and fun environment that allows people to be active together,” says Georgia Watkins, general manager of Yas Padel.

What is padel?

Padel is a cross between tennis and squash (although avid players will tell you it’s unlike either). Typically played in doubles, it takes place on an enclosed court roughly three-quarters the size of a tennis court.

Scoring is the same as in tennis and the balls are similar, but with less pressure. The bats, however, are solid, unlike tennis racquets. The main difference between padel and tennis lies in the court. Padel courts have walls that the ball can be played off, much like in squash.

Also unlike tennis, padel is a much newer sport, with origins believed to be traced back to the 1960s. It is also believed to be one of the fastest-growing sports in the world.

Growing popularity in the UAE

Eisa Al Marzooqi, a board member on the UAE Padel Association, says there are about 350 private and public courts in the country.

UAE TV presenter Katie Overy says she really enjoys the sport because of its social aspect and how it brings people together.

“It’s a sport that’s very easy to play but hard to master. Tennis can get technical, but with padel you have that racquet and you just have to hit the ball. But hitting the ball in a certain way — calculating the rebounds — is another thing,” she says.

“I like it because it’s very sociable. There are people who were acquaintances that I’ve gotten closer to as we play together. I’ve definitely seen more people picking up the sport lately.”

Updated: April 13, 2022, 9:37 AM