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Inspired by Wimbledon? Europe’s tennis craze arrives in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 11:30 10 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:46 10 July 2019

The new padel courts in Diss. Around a third of the size of a traditional tennis court, it's thought padel could become an Olympic sport in a few years time. Picture: Neil Didsbury

The new padel courts in Diss. Around a third of the size of a traditional tennis court, it's thought padel could become an Olympic sport in a few years time. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Archant

Those inspired by the stars at Wimbledon will have a new way to get into the sport as Norfolk’s first padel tennis court opens.

The new Adidas padel tennis courts at Heywood Health and Fitness in Diss which cost around £90,000. Picture: Neil DidsburyThe new Adidas padel tennis courts at Heywood Health and Fitness in Diss which cost around £90,000. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Claimed to be the world's fastest growing sport, the game can now be played at the Heywood Tennis Club in Diss.

Owner Tom Bobbins was inspired to bring the game to the county after experiencing it on holiday with his brother-in-law in Portugal, and said he saw potential for it to catch on closer to home. Upon his return to Norfolk, Mr Bobbins began to look into the costs and logistics of building a padel tennis court.

The game is played on an enclosed caged court, which means that once the ball passes a player it is not necessarily out of play.

"It's a little bit like tennis but nicks the good bits of squash," said Mr Bobbins.

The new Padel tennis courts at Heywood Health and Fitness in Diss which cost around £90,000. Picture: Neil DidsburyThe new Padel tennis courts at Heywood Health and Fitness in Diss which cost around £90,000. Picture: Neil Didsbury

The game is Spain's second largest participation sport (overtaking standard tennis) and is expected to feature at the Olympics by the 2028 games.

Mr Bobbins says he believes many new athletes can be created by the game as anyone can pick up a racket and rally, even if they have never played before.

Mr Bobbins said: "I saw the potential in the game because it's so easy to play. I genuinely believe someone who has got no racket sports background can pick up a padel and play.

"If they've got a partner who's a little bit handy that helps, but you can get four people on who have never played the game before and they can have good, meaningful rallies which you just can't do with squash or tennis as there's too much faff."

The new Padel tennis courts at Heywood Health and Fitness in Diss which cost around £90,000. Picture: Neil DidsburyThe new Padel tennis courts at Heywood Health and Fitness in Diss which cost around £90,000. Picture: Neil Didsbury

According to Mr Bobbins other clubs in the county looking to get involved with padel tennis, after the game was officially recognised by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).


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