Anyone for padel tennis?
A health and fitness club boss is hoping to introduce a new sport to the region, which is a cross between tennis and squash.
Tom Bobbins, who runs Heywood Health and Fitness in Walcot Road, Diss, has launched a planning application to build two padel tennis courts, as part of a £200,000 investment in the club.
Padel is played on an enclosed court a third the size of a tennis court. Scoring is the same as tennis and the balls used are similar but with a little less pressure.
The main differences are that the court has walls and the balls can be played off them in a similar way as in the game of squash.
Players also use a solid paddle as opposed to a strung racquet.
“We decided to invest further into the club after recently buying the land, which until now we have been renting,” said Mr Bobbins.
“We were looking for new concepts and discovered padel, which is growing massively worldwide.
“It’s very popular in South America, Mexico, Argentina and Chile and is now spreading fast in Europe. It’s now Spain’s second biggest participation sport after football.”
Padel was invented in Acapulco, Mexico, by Enrique Corcuera in 1969. The sport’s popularity along the Costa del Sol in southern Spain and the Algarve exposed it to a large number of British visitors, leading to an increased popularity of the sport in the UK – and the launch of the UK Padel Federation in 2011.
“We’ve watched on YouTube, tried it on a trip to a club in Colchester, which is the nearest place to play, and also on a staff trip to Portugal,” added Mr Bobbins.
“It’s a great game and we will have the first padel courts in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire if our application succeeds.”
Other plans include fencing, floodlights and resurfacing the existing football pitch and tennis courts.