Our incredible trip to Saudi Arabia confirmed padel is the perfect fit for this friendly culture
In Saudi Arabia I experienced the perfection of padel’s social element. I know this sport will continue to grow here unabated.
This was my first time to Saudi Arabia, and I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve spent time in the Middle East, most notably in Dubai, but I’ve always known the padel community to be friendly, engaging, and ready to learn.
Saudi Arabia met and exceeded all of my expectations. I enjoyed my time there immensely and honestly, I can’t wait to go back!
In this short post, I’ll tell you why I think padel has been so successful in the Middle East:
- They don’t pack courts into a warehouse and call it good.
- They have an unmatched on-court comradery.
- The climate is actually great for padel.
- Padel just fits better than tennis.
1) They Don’t Pack Courts Into a Warehouse and Call it Good
It’s popular in many European countries to pack in as many courts as possible into a small space. While this works great for issues of space and convenience, it means less room to watch games, engage with each other, and build community.
They’ve understood the joy of the social side of padel, and they’ve shown this by having cafes and other gathering areas court side.
They are extremely social as a culture, and packed tables surrounding the court evidence this. Cheers rang out when a good rally took place, and an atmosphere of friendly competition and learning was prevalent.
Club owners know the sport will continue to grow as long as they cultivate an atmosphere where people come and spend several hours enjoying themselves with their friends.
2) They Have an Unmatched On-Court Comradery
The thing I love most about padel is you can have a friendly game, but still mix in trash talk, self-deprecation when you miss a shot, and outward appreciation when your opponent hits an excellent shot.
I know this, but the Saudi Arabian players took it to another level. The atmosphere when jumping on the court with them was positively palpable!
The level of joy for the sport they brought to the court wowed me. I couldn’t help but feel taken in by the jovial kindness mixed in with the unrelenting competition.
It was the social side of padel taken to the next level, and I had so much fun playing, teaching, and interacting with the players.
3) The Climate is Actually Great for Padel
It can get extremely hot during the day in summer in the Middle East. Playing outside in what feels like desert temperatures may not be the best fit for everyone.
However, during the rest of the year, and during the evenings, playing outside is incredibly enjoyable with a breeze and dry conditions.
Some people might not be able to take the heat on an outdoor court during the day, or just don’t like to be too hot, but inside courts exist to cover this option.
I don’t mind playing outdoors, and nothing beats a sky high lob to frustrate my opponents. I loved playing here!
4) Padel Just Fits Better than Tennis
In the UK, US, and Germany, to name a few countries, there is a strong tradition of tennis. Saudi Arabia, and other Middle Eastern countries, tennis isn’t a well-established tradition.
Padel has grown so much because it doesn’t have tennis or squash to compete with. It’s a newer sport and many are finding that for the first time they’ve found a sport that’s a perfect fit.
This sport has spread because of its social element that fits with the culture, and I can’t wait to see how much it grows even in the next few years.
What do you think? Do you think padel will continue to grow exponentially, especially during the next few years?
Thanks for stopping by,
-Sandy and The Padel School Team