Scotland poised to embrace padel
Tennis Scotland CEO Blane Dodds has revealed that Scottish padel’s governing body is on course to double the number of padel courts north of Hadrian’s Wall by the end of the year. RJ Mitchell reports.
Blane was in Aberdeen last week for the opening of the city’s first two padel courts by LTA president Sandi Procter at the new Aberdeen Padel Tennis Centre, created after the Lawn Tennis Association provided award-winning charity Sport Aberdeen with a six-figure interest-free loan to bring the project to life.
And, after witnessing the opening of Scotland’s 17th and 18th padel courts, Blane revealed there were plenty more in the pipeline: “We have a number of other projects we are working on and we expect there to be around 30 in total delivered this year with more next year.
“Padel is one of the fastest growing sports in the world with around 18 million people, mainly in Europe, playing the game and that in countries like Spain there is significant growth and demand. This is a great opportunity for local communities linked to tennis to get involved in another healthy activity. It is a really exciting future.”
While Aberdeen Padel Tennis Centre may be a flagship development for Tennis Scotland in its bid to grow padel, Blane admitted there’s not a one-fits-all blueprint: “Every solution is slightly different depending on the land/money available and the partnership on offer. We have urban solutions, park solutions and solutions linked to an indoor charitable operator with an indoor tennis centre.”
With Tennis Scotland enjoying a record 75,000 membership, Blane has no doubt that padel and tennis can co-exist successfully: “We are speaking to clubs which have spare ground in terms of them adding padel and utilising the canopy solution for all-year play and so make it complimentary to tennis so they can co-exist and enhance existing facilities, benefit local communities and existing membership. All of that is very promising for the development of padel alongside tennis in Scotland. We are excited to grow and develop that relationship between the two sports to benefit all.” 🎾