Padel moving in on Centre Court
Padel is closing in on The All England Club in Wimbledon, with plans revealed for an indoor court less than two miles from Centre Court.
Padel People partners George Sandbach and James Rock are behind the scheme to install the court at the soon-to-be-opened Hybrid Fitness in Plough Lane, Wimbledon, with gym/padel, padel only and pay-as-you-play options available.
For George and James it’s the culmination of some 18 months of ‘hard work and dedication’ in finding the right site and partner company to move forward with. They aim to add more courts into Hybrid Fitness locations as well as develop standalone Padel People facilities, including a venue with up to six courts which they hope to announce shortly.
“Our vision is to grow, perhaps slowly at first, and always with the customer in mind,” said George (below). “James and I are avid sportspeople and we know that the customer experience has got to be there. Our goal is customer retention, we’re perhaps a little old-fashioned in how we plan to look after our players,” he added.
The Oxfordshire-based business partners met due to their love of Rackets, with both working at Montreal Rackets Club (James as the head coach, George as his assistance). James, who reached the world top 10 in Rackets, is now Master in Charge of Racket Sports at Radley College and George the founder of The Sandy’s Group, a hospitality company. They started playing padel several years ago and loved it but had to drive an hour to their nearest courts (East Glos Club in Cheltenham). The idea for Padel People was born.
“We’ve been looking at sites in Oxford but there were issues with land, rent and rates,” George said. “Hybrid Fitness entered the conversation and we got on immediately. It’s a new fitness franchise concept with a growing number of gyms around the country. We are hoping that Wimbledon will be open within weeks and others will follow. It bring a one-of-a-kind fitness experience to Hybrid Fitness members.”
Padel People has partnered with Hexa for the court build and with Padel Corner for the equipment, specifically Nordic Dots rackets. The padel court is downstairs in the Hybrid building, adjacent to the gym. Booking will be via Hybrid or Padel People’s forthcoming website, with George and James planning to provide coaching, tournaments, social events and kids’ camps plus offer free court time to community groups in each locality.
Hybrid Fitness has gyms in Canary Wharf, Loughborough, Sutton and Reigate, with sites opening in Putney, Hove and Loughton in addition to Wimbledon. 🎾