Padel in South Africa


Padel’s implementation into Africa, and the world, wouldn’t quite be complete if one of the continent’s biggest and most southern countries wasn’t a part of the sport’s rapid growth across the globe. South Africa, however, has been quite late to the padel party.

The country’s first court was only built towards the end of 2019, in Val de Vie, a private estate nestled between the beautiful Cape Winelands of Franschhoek and Paarl. This project was the brainchild of former Olympic swimming champion, Ryk Neethling, who is now the marketing director of VDV. It is where the sport truly began in the country, with many of its residents falling in love with the sport instantly. They are now looking into expanding with more courts to cope with the influx of people starting to play.

Padel SA were invited by Mr Neethling to help launch the courts (on the same day the Springboks won the rugby World Cup in Japan) and played an instrumental role in introducing the sport to the members of the estate and supplying them with equipment.

In March 2020, Padel Tennis SA imported and installed South Africa’s first public courts in Roodepoort, Johannesburg. Another team, known as Action Padel, built the first public padel club in Cape Town, adding two courts to the very well-known five-a-side football facility called Fives. Africa Padel was not far behind and set up their first courts in Camps Bay at the start of 2021. They have since gone on to build courts at the Waterfront, Johannesburg and Plett.

Johannesburg’s second club was built at the beginning of 2021. The Johannesburg Country Club built 3 courts to massive success, expanding the Johannesburg market which was quick to catch on to the padel craze!

Epic Padel, opened up a court in Clifton, which was followed by their clubs in Johannesburg, Durbanville and Tableview.

The Padel Hub, situated at the stunning Lourensford Estate in Somerset West, opened in 2022 and is the first club in the Winelands.

The list just keeps on growing, with new clubs and many more courts currently planned for all over South Africa.


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South African Padel Association (SAPA)

The South African Padel Association (SAPA) was formalised in 2019. They have come together to form the body of the sport, to help grow and push it into the country, with the ultimate goal of seeing it recognised as an official sport in South Africa. From there they will set up and run provincial and interprovincial leagues, a national championship, and the ultimate goal of having a fully competitive national team to compete internationally. They sent an invitational club team to the first international tournament for a South African team, the African Padel Cup in Egypt, in March 2022.

Padel is finally in South Africa, and in a country that has hosted a Rugby World Cup, Cricket World Cup, and the biggest sporting event of them all, the FIFA Football World Cup, it is only a matter of time before this sporting mad nation becomes totally loco about padel!

As our great former president, Nelson Mandela, famously once said, “Sports have the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sports can create hope, where there was once only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination. Sports is the game of lovers.”

We think padel fits perfectly into what Mandela’s vision of sport could help to achieve. We only wish one of the greatest men that ever lived had a chance to experience one of the greatest sports the world has ever seen, but we have a feeling he would have loved it, as everyone that plays it inevitably does.

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