RIYADH: The racket game padel is becoming popular in Saudi Arabia, with an increasing number of women taking interest in the sport at the Padel Rush club at Boulevard Riyadh City.
Riyadh resident Nura Al-Soleiman, 35, switched from tennis to padel about three years ago.
“Ever since I moved back to Saudi two months ago, I have been looking for a padel club, and I have now found Padel Rush. I’m just so happy to be playing, and through padel I meet new people,” Al-Soleiman told Arab News.
Padel Rush welcomes players of all ages and skill levels to try this game, with qualified staff to support them.
Padel is a mix of tennis and squash; it is played in doubles. The balls are similar to tennis balls but with less pressure.
Asmar Alshinifi, another Saudi padel player, said that paddling allows her to blow off steam.
“I tried padel and instantly fell in love. It’s one of the games that can be competitive and release stress, and is easy to learn,” Alshinifi said.
She described how the club brings good vibes with a beautiful location, good organization, and a friendly environment: “They are so welcoming, providing us with everything we need.”
Alshinifi said that she had registered for the Olympics. She wants to reach an international level in padel and hopes to get nominated.
Padel is a sport that blends enjoyment and social interaction with action. Most players pick up the basics within half an hour, allowing them to enjoy the game.
Padel is extremely fun, and you can meet new people, and I think this is the most important thing.
Camila Liguori, Spanish padel player
The scoring and rules are similar to tennis, except that the serve in padel is underarm, and balls can be shot off the walls like in squash, resulting in longer rallies than in a tennis match.
Padel Rush also organizes friendly competitions and tournaments between the members where they can challenge their peers.
“I’m just so happy that they organize tournaments,” Al-Soleiman said. “There is a big turnout for women who want to participate. For us, we are always down to play matches and have the opportunity to not just play a match, but also to make it a competitive thing, a tournament. Sometimes competitiveness is good and necessary.”
Camila Liguori, a Spanish padel player, was looking for a place to play her childhood sport.
“I’ve been playing since I was a child back home in Spain and Padel Rush is a good experience; the culture here is amazing, and the place is stunning. Sport is important for your lifestyle, so nothing is better than enjoying sport. Padel is extremely fun, and you can meet new people, and I think this is the most important thing,” Liguori said.
“This change to prompt people to practice more sport is amazing. I like this initiative (Vision 2030) that the country is doing, especially with women being able to participate and interact and play whatever they want,” Al-Soleiman said.