Next to a building supply warehouse on the London A-Road is one of the capital’s trendiest venues – Britain’s leading paddle tennis club in all its reggaeton soundtrack and Friday night paella cook-up glory.
In case you didn’t know, paddle tennis is having a major moment, so it’s fitting that the Stratford Paddle Club is run by the Spanish, as Spain played a key role in making this four-person, walled racquet sport the fastest-growing sport. has played. World. The paddle is also widespread in South America, Scandinavia, the Middle East and the continent and is now flying in the UK, thanks to celebrity endorsement and increased court availability.
Internationally, the rise of the paddle has been fueled by high-profile sports stars from Formula 1 to football: Carlos Sainz, Marcus Alonso, Maria Sharapova, Neymar, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Rafael Nadal, Hector Bellerin, Charles Leclerc, Cesc. Fabregas, Mo. Salah. , the list goes on. British celebrities including Andy Murray and David Beckham are also getting in on the act.
In Sweden, where paddle is now bigger than tennis, footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been the cross-over face of the sport, opening his own sleek chain of paddle zenter clubs. “It’s the Zlatan effect – they attracted a lot of new users to paddle in Sweden and brought in Paul Pogba for an event,” explains Kristian Hunter, CEO of Paddle Social Club. Focusing on pay-and-play features with a large social element (as seen in Scandinavia). “So it’s not just tennis players. Yes, Andy Murray is involved and Rafa [Nadal] Love it, but when people see rugby players, football players, golfers, cricket players and musicians playing, they think, ‘I can do that too!
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Dani Dios, a former captain of the Swedish national team and a paddle business developer, spends three weeks each month in Sweden where the game is taking place “bananas”. He says the ratio of clubs per capita is now the same as in his native Spain, but this has happened in four years as opposed to 15. He says that the international development of the sport is mind-boggling. “There is a second wave going on in South America, going to Sweden, Italy, France, Belgium, Holland and now the UK in the Middle East. When I was living in London I was part of the opening of the first indoor club in the UK at Canary Wharf in 2012 around the Olympics. We tried to raise awareness [in 2012]But that didn’t happen at all. Though slowly, more celebrities are joining the game and people are getting familiar with it. There are a lot more centers, so within two years, we’re going to see a huge explosion. European paddle brands have all their eyes on the UK market right now, waiting for that explosion to happen. And then, the UK is going to be like, “What the fuck!?” This is going to be the next cool, trendy, fashion thing to do in the UK. It’s going bananas too.”