Have you ever heard of Fernando Belasteguín, Paquito Navarro or Maxi Sánchez? Well, neither have 99.99 percent of the world’s population. But what if I told you that to millions of people in Spain, Argentina and other parts of Europe and Latin America these guys are like Roger Federer, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lebron James? These three, along with some others, are the best of the best in what is often described as the fastest-growing sport in the world and what may very well be the biggest sport you’ve never heard of: padel.
As the following chart shows, Spain and Argentina are at the forefront of the padel revolution, with thousands of courts available to players in both countries. However, in recent years, the sport has grown beyond the borders of its “homelands” and spread rapidly to other countries. The number of rackets sold worldwide grew roughly fivefold between 2002 and 2017, and with new courts popping up left and right in countries like the Netherlands, Sweden and France, that growth will likely continue going forward. In case you want to find out more about the sport, the International Padel Federation’s website is as good a place to start as any.
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