Expat Argentina

Argentines Play Paddle – Does the USA Have This?


When I first came to Buenos Aires, Argentina, I came across a type of mini tennis which I had never seen before. The game is called paddle. I have played tennis my entire life but never had the opportunity to play on any other surface besides hard court. Tennis is very popular in the country and the majority of the courts are clay. I was excited at the opportunity to play on clay and in the few clubs that I went to came across paddle.

If I’m not tasting wine, eating beef, or spending time with friends, I most enjoy playing sports and games. Paddle struck me as a healthy mix between sport and game and easy enough to go play as long as you have a partner. The game is essentially a mix between pickle ball, racquetball, and tennis. It is played on a pickle ball style court, or in other words, a mini tennis court with two squares on each side of the net and a space between the end of the square and the wall. The court is enclosed by walls on each end of the court with a little bit more wall extending out on the side. The rest of the sides are enclosed by fence. Peculiarly thick plastic racquets with holes are used along with tennis balls, not pickle or racquetballs. Scoring is done exactly like tennis with games starting on the right hand side, serving across the net and underhand. The most interesting, exciting, and complicated part of the game is the use of the walls. Once in play, the ball can bounce anywhere on the court as long as it doesn’t hit the wall first. After that point the player can utilize the wall by hitting the ball after it ricochets off, or slamming the ball against the wall so that it makes it to the other side of the net. An interesting and fun spin on commonly known sport, paddle was a pleasant surprise in Argentina.

I suppose we have paddle ball in the USA, yes? I mean I think I’ve heard of it….