Padel tennis has taken off in recent years. Although it has been played in Spain for over forty years, it was not until 2006 that it became widely popular in the country. On average, 2 million people play paddle tennis regularly, and it is expected that in the coming years this number will double, taking into account these statistics.
One of the main reasons for this surge in popularity is that it requires no special training, making it ideal for amateurs looking for a non-demanding sport. Added to this, the rules are quite simple so it is easy for beginners. On the other hand, paddle tennis is a team sport, which encourages social interaction in a fun environment and healthy competition.
Enjoyable play requires courts that are as safe as possible. Similarly, it is essential that good quality materials are used to improve performance and protect the players. In 2018, AENOR published the UNE 147301 standard for artificial grass sports surfaces for paddle tennis. This new standard has been drawn up to serve as a reference document for the construction, inspection and maintenance of artificial grass surfaces for paddle tennis.
The standard provides for laboratory tests, field trials and product identification and approval seals for this type of sports surface, to ensure that the sports product performance rating assessed in the laboratory is reproducible in the court itself and identified with the technical data sheets declared by the manufacturers.
The laboratory tests evaluate the resistance of the fibre or “plume” to tearing out; artificial ageing; resilience of the seams, shock absorption and resistance to rotation, among other aspects. As for on-site tests, these must be carried out on each of the elements of an installed court and include water permeability; impact absorption; resistance to rotation; vertical ball bounce and surface regularity. The assessment is generally carried out after installation and then once every two or three years, depending on the level of use and local by-laws.