The USTA National Campus officially opened four pickleball courts and four padel courts – complete with permanent nets and lights – in the Nemours Family Zone this summer. Both sets of courts have been packed with local players as participation among the entire racquet sport industry continues to grow in the United States with people of all ages and abilities picking up the sports as a way to stay active, healthy and social.
In addition to regular programming, a number of events have been held, including the inaugural Orlando Cup, a Pro Pickleball Association event that was held in mid-September. The event attracted more than 1,000 elite pickleball players and was even featured on Tennis Channel.
An official ribbon-cutting for the new courts is scheduled for October.
For those unfamiliar with the newest additions to the campus, think of pickleball as a crafty mix of badminton, tennis and ping-pong. Like tennis, pickleball can be played in singles or doubles, but the pickleball ball is plastic and perforated like a wiffle ball. Pickleball is a sport for everyone and a great way to stay active.
Various programs and social opportunities will be offered in the sport at the campus, with players being able to find the perfect level using the USAPA rating program. Pickleball programming options include camps or private/small group lessons to meet every player’s needs. Players will also have the option to reserve pickleball courts for play.
Padel is a racquet sport that is different from the sport known in the U.S. and Canada as paddle tennis. Padel is typically played as doubles in an enclosed court with artificial turf that is roughly 25% smaller than the size of a tennis court. Scoring is the same as tennis, and the points are started with an underhand serve. Padel is played with a paddle or racquet with no strings and a lower compression ball than that used in tennis, making it easier to control.
Padel programming at the campus will also include junior and adult clinics for beginners, intermediate and competition as well as social events and camps.
Pickleball and padel courts are open Monday-Thursday from 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday from 7:30 p.m.-5 p.m. For more information on pickleball and padel programming, events, and for court reservations, please call (407) 675-2502 or visit the PLAY Section of ustanationalcampus.com.