International Padel Rules
Players are enclosed in an area measuring 10 by 20 metres with transparent walls and wire mesh fencing in places.
The two teams are separated by a tennis net and the court is marked out with lines and service boxes.
Walls around the court mean that the ball can bounce in unexpected directions to spice up the game!
Padel uses the same scoring system as tennis.
Six games are needed to win a set and the team which wins two sets wins the game.
A game is scored exactly the same as in tennis, i.e. 15/0, 30/0, 40/0, advantage, deuce, etc.
If a set reaches a 6/6 draw, there is a tie-breaker as in tennis.
- A game is started by serving diagonally as in tennis, with two serve attempts allowed (first and second service).
- The server must be behind the service line.
- The returner may stand wherever they like on the court, diagonally opposite the server.
- The server first bounces the ball then hits it below waist level.
- The ball must bounce in the service box opposite before being hit by the returner.
- If the ball does not bounce in the box, it is a fault.
- If it bounces in the box and hits the wire mesh fencing before crossing the service line (on the returner’s side), it is also a fault.
- If the ball hits the net and bounces in the box it is a let. If it touches the wire mesh fencing before the second bounce, it is a fault.
- Once the ball is in play, all balls which cross the net must first bounce on the ground on the opponent’s side before hitting a wall.
- Players may hit a ball as a volley.
- Players may hit the ball after it has bounced on a wall to send it back to the opponent’s side.
- Just as in tennis, the ball may only bounce once in your side, and it may only be hit once.
- You may smash the ball hard so that it goes out after it bounces!
- But the opposing team may run to try and hit it back into play.
- This type of point is particularly exciting!
The Court’s Size
There are many racket sports nowadays, and let’s face it: it can get really confusing sometimes. Especially with disciplines like pickleball, paddle tennis, and padel.
Although similar from an outsider’s perspective, they differ not only in the dynamics of the game but also in many other aspects, like the size of the court and its elements.
To make it easier to understand, we have made a table comparing them in detail. To do so, we will take as a reference a tennis court, as it is the most popular racket sport worldwide, and most of us are familiar with it.
|Tennis||78ft or 23,7m||
27ft or 8,23m (singles)
36ft or 10,97m (doubles)
|Padel||65ft 7in or 20m||32ft 8in or 10m|
|Paddle Tennis||50ft or 15,24m||20ft or 6,1m|
|Pickleball||44ft or 13,4m||20ft or 6,1m|
Surprisingly enough, we see that the playable area is bigger in padel than in tennis (singles). The rest of the modalities (paddle tennis and pickleball) are on average around half the size of a tennis court in terms of the playable area.
As a last observation, The height of a padel court should ensure a minimum of 19ft 7in or 6m free of elements obstructing the area. New padel courts constructions suggest lifting that minimum to 26ft 2in or 8m.
The Service Lines
The court in the sport of padel is rectangular and divided into two sides by a net. Parallel to the net, there is a service line, one on each side of the court.
The service lines are placed at a distance of 22ft 8in or 6,95m on both sides. The area in between is divided in two by a perpendicular line called the center service line.
To maximize visibility, the lines must be always in contrast with the color of the floor. The colors used for padel line floors should be white and black.
You can learn more details about the specifications in the Regulation Book issued by the International Padel Federation
Okay, now that we know everything about the size of the court, let’s take a deeper look at the net.
Similar to many racket sports, the net in padel is slightly lower in the center. It must be 34,6in or 0,88m high in the center and 36in or 0,92 at the sides.
Attached at the end to two lateral posts with a maximum height of 41in or 1,05m, the net must be 32ft 8in or 10 meters long. There might be no spaces between both ends of the net and the posts. Although it should not be tense, it must be fully extended.
In order to ensure safety and protecting the players from impacts, the net posts should have rounded edges. The posts themselves are part of the playable court, therefore, they should be placed so the outer side coincides with the lateral limits of the court (metallic fence, opening).
Following safety measures, the net must be protected on the upper side with a white strip all along, covering the tension cable beneath it.