Bush Tennis Center is bringing padel to West Texas

Published: Sep. 4, 2023 at 7:23 PM CDT
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MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) - Midland’s Bush Tennis Center wants to drum up interest in a unique sport facility.

It’s a racket sport called padel and the center is the only place you can play it in West Texas.

This sport has seen global success, but it hasn’t picked up with the same speed in the United States. Nonetheless, Bush Tennis Center is bringing it to Midlanders.

“So padel was actually founded in Mexico in the late 60s. It’s a mixture between racquetball and tennis. It’s a good in-between,” said Randy Garcia, the center’s head padel pro.

This globally popular racket sport is considered easier than tennis and uses the same point system. However, its court and equipment are different. The ball is smaller with lower pressure and the racket is more like a heavier paddle.

“So, a smaller court than a tennis court but it’s bigger than a pickleball court,” Garcia said. “It’s surrounded by glass and fencing, because you’re actually allowed to play off your glass. The ball is allowed to hit the glass after it hits the ground.”

Bush Tennis Center is one of nine Texas clubs recognized by the U.S. Padel Association and the only one in West Texas. It officially opened the two courts in February and is looking to build its player base.

Member Julia Martinez is new to the sport, which she plays as a hobby with her husband.

“I think it’s pretty easy to get into it and learn it and be able to play,” Martinez said. “I mean my husband is doing great and he has played three times and he’s better than me now.”

Tennis center staff say all you need is a little hand-eye coordination and a willingness to try.

“Just come out and give it a try. I mean the worst thing that can happen is you have fun with it, and you want to come out again,” said Diego Martinez, a tennis coach.

There is some debate on how to pronounce it, but what everybody playing Saturday agreed on is that it’s an easy sport, they invite anyone interested to give it a go.