The Ricoh Tennis Open 2017 at Rosmalen surprised visitors this year with the presentation of two padel courts. The courts were installed and financed by three companies dedicated to the construction of padel courts: Padel Service Nederland, Padel Totaal and Rekre Sport, in a space facilitated by the Dutch Tennis Federation KNLTB. Their goal was to continue to promote padel, aiming to the tennis players segment.
The event was full of surprises. Bram Meijer, the no.1 ranked player at the NPB ranking took up to the court to demonstrate padel and give clinics. Upcoming NPB players Uriel Maarsen, Miquel Verhagen and Jim Kwakkel joined the demonstration matches together with Argentines Celeste Paz and Nela Brito, who are high ranked in the World Padel Tour and International Padel Federation rankings, as special guest.
The event increased the awareness and interest in the sport. In comparison with past similar events, it is remarkable how much the average tennis player begins to recognize padel. Whereas in the past tennis players needed to be introduced to the sport, nowadays they ask more specific questions. Furthermore, in the past tennis visitors needed to be invited to enter the court. Nowadays, they make a line to enter the court and don’t want to exit it. “…some people were even bringing their own sport shoes anticipating that they could play padel…”, according to Peter Amerika, who is Director at Padel Service Nederland.
The question that comes to mind when presenting padel under the sphere of a tennis event is that it can create confusion as to what the true identity of padel is. It is tempting for anyone who sees padel for the first time to confuse it with a form of tennis, mini-tennis or a mix between padel and squash. Bram Meijer, “… people first saw it as a mix between tennis and squash but now there is more and more people that understands that it is a totally different sport…”.
“I welcome the event and thank all the parties that made it possible. It is great that padel is promoted and that people start to talk and see padel for what it is. It is nice to see that our efforts building an own identity for padel comes to fruition when a tennis club, a tennis federation or tennis players start to recognize padel as a unique racket sport… We will continue to facilitate the expansion of padel within the tennis segment and hopefully soon outside the sphere of tennis as it is in other countries as well”, according to Norberto Nesi, President of the Dutch Padel Federation.