Paddle Tennis / POP Tennis / Padel

Am I playing POP Tennis* (Paddle Tennis), Platform Tennis or Padel?
*note:  paddle tennis has been renamed POP TENNIS.  This is part of a re-marketing of the sport known for many years as “Paddle Tennis”.

POP Tennis (Paddle Tennis) is NOT synonymous Platform Tennis.  It is its own sport and is believed to have originated in 1898 as an outdoor game for children. In 1959, Murray Geller revised the format and rules and the standardized game of Paddle Tennis took off for players of all age groups. Now called POP Tennis, it can be played either as singles or doubles and the winner is the best of three sets. Tennis scoring applies, although only one underhand serve is allowed. It is an easy sport to learn and as with tennis, very little gear is required to play. (scroll down). Watch POP Tennis in Play!

What is Paddle Tennis / POP Tennis?*

*note:  Paddle Tennis has been recently renamed POP TENNIS.  This is part of a re-marketing of the sport.

Watch POP Tennis here!

Played year round on the West Coast and especially popular in Venice, California Paddle tennis traces its roots back to an Episcopal minister, Frank Peer Beal, in lower Manhattan. Wanting to create recreational activities for neighborhood children, he got the city’s parks and recreation department to lay courts in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village in 1915. The first tournament was held in 1922, and the United States Paddle Tennis Associated was formed the following year. By 1941, paddle tennis was being played in almost 500 American cities.

Although Frank Beal is known as the game’s inventor, Murray Geller, a player in the 1940s and ‘50s, was instrumental in creating the modern game. Elected chairman of the USPTA rules committee, he wanted to make the game more appealing to adults and instituted features including an enlarged court and an underhanded serve.

The sport uses a standard tennis ball with its internal pressure reduced so that when dropped from a height of 6 feet, it bounces to between 31 and 33 inches. This is usually achieved by puncturing the ball with a hypodermic needle or safety pin.  Today, there is a POP tennis ball made by PENN specifically for this sport. It is called the Control Plus GREEN DOT ball.

The paddle is made of a composite foam core covered with fiberglass and or graphite, and contains no strings but does have holes drilled throughout. Its dimensions are limited to a max of 18.5″ in length and 10″ in width.  Traditionalists play with 22-28 mm thick paddles (including those used for platform tennis), but the new 38 mm thick paddles have become extremely popular with players new to POP Tennis.

Other Facts about Paddle Tennis / newly renamed Pop Tennis:

  • Players: Played in both singles or doubles.
  • Serves: Serve must be underhand. Only one serve is allowed.
  • Score: Scoring method is the same as in tennis. Best of 3 sets.
  • Ball: Tennis ball with reduced pressure.
  • Paddle: No strings. Typically a perforated face.
  • Court: There are two styles of courts. East and West cost styles.
  • Walls: Walls or fences are NOT part of the game.

POP Tennis Court

While some POP tennis is played on hard packed beach sand, most POP / Paddle Tennis courts are constructed of the same materials as tennis courts. The majority of new POP Tennis Courts are 60′ in overall length.  Traditionally court measurements were 50 feet from baseline to baseline, and these courts are still in use as well. The court width is 20 feet and the service line is 3 feet inside the baseline. The net height is 31 inches. On the west coast, a restraint line may be drawn parallel to the net, 12 feet back from the net (this area is “the bucket”). If using the restraint line, all players must keep both feet behind this line until after the player receiving the serve has struck the ball.


Court measurement – 50’* by 20′ Wide (no doubles lanes).  Singles and Doubles played on the same court.  *Often played on a 60′ court today due to easy access.
Net Height – 31″
Equipment – Paddle – 18″ or 18.5″ long.  Composition includes Graphite, Titanium and solid EVA cores with holes cut in the face which aid in maneuverabilty and help bite the ball.  Face may have grit or be smooth.

Ball – A punctured / deadened tennis ball or Penn Green Dot low compression ball

Shoes – Wear good quality tennis shoes for POP Tennis; DO NOT wear running shoes or cross-trainers for safety reasons!

What is Padel?

Padel is a racquet sport that combines the elements of tennis, squash and badminton. It is only played in doubles and is practiced outdoors as much as indoors and involves the use of walls (yes, you play balls off the wall like in racquetball and squash).

The game was invented by Enrique Corcuera of Mexico, who created the first padel club in Marbella in 1974. The sport became very popular in Spain, which has been the professional circuit host of the World Padel Tour where it has been played since 2005. Over the course of the past 10 years, padel has begun to spread rapidly to the rest of Europe as well as to the United States.

The Padel Court:

•Dimensions: 200m² (10x20m)
•A net divides the court into two sides
•Windows and steel fences surround the court
•The back of the court and the beginning of the sides are made of window glass surmounted by a steel fence (height: 4m)
•The rest of the sides are exclusively made of a steel fence (height: 3m)
•Access to the court is on each side of the net
•There are no doors

For more information on the sport of Padel…read here or for all paddle sports read HERE