The best capital places to make a racket in…

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock that is impenetrable to Wifi, you’ve almost certainly heard of the new(ish) and red hot, bang on trend racket sport of padel tennis, currently courting the world’s sport fans.

It’s a sort of rough fusion between tennis and squash, played on a court, across a net with areas of the back walls valid as ‘in’. Which requires a small session of reprogramming for long-term tennis aces. Padel rackets, like the courts, are a little smaller and, honest review — feel a bit like the ones from the swingball sets from our collective childhoods.

Padel is almost invariably played in pairs of pairs (doubles), and whilst the serves are taken ‘underarm’ — the scoring mechanisms remain much the same (love, 15, 30, 40). Orientation over, it’s time to go smash some baseline rockets. These are some of our favourite new padel spots in Abu Dhabi.

Top Padel

Located at Abu Dhabi’s Deerfields Mall, this new alfresco palace of padel offers three outdoor courts which you’ll find next to ‘The Garden’. Open daily between 9am and midnight, Top Padel offers a premium padel experience for just Dhs220 per group per hour. You can also rent equipment from Dhs15. And by way of an introductory offer, those booking up for sessions on Wednesday February 23 and Thursday February 24, can look forward to 50 per cent discount on an hour’s court rental.

Deerfields Mall, 9am to midnight, from Dhs220. Tel: (02) 5106 9093, @toppadel_ae

Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi

This Abu Dhabi hotel has started to serve its own slice of padel pie, with a bright sunlit court now entertaining gleeful racket-eers from 6am to 10.45pm on a daily basis. A one hour session chimes in at Dhs215, or for Dhs300 you can rent out the court for an hour.

Beach Rotana, Al Zahiyah, 6am to 10.45pm daily, from Dhs215. Tel: (02) 697 9000, @beach_rotana

The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal

This brand new Padel spot was conceived, served and volleyed in partnership with Emirates Padel Center — building on the Ritz’s incredible portfolio of sporting facilities. On offer for padel fanatics — five padel tennis courts, expert coaching sessions, a convenient booking app and a sports café. You can book slots of 60 and 90 minutes and prices start at Dhs280 per group.

The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, daily, 7am to midnight, from Dhs280. Tel: (02) 818 8888, ritzcarlton.com/abudhabi

Etizan

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Etizan the colossal fitness complex at hotel Erth (formally known as the Armed Forces Officers Club and Hotel) is legitimately stacked with an Olympic range of sporting activities including a 3,500 sqm gym, tennis courts, multiple football pitches (including a fully FIFA-certified 11-a-side pitch), a boxing studio, martial arts space, an eight-lane-indoor-tournament-spec pool, facilities for gymnastics, aerobics, squash, bowling, track and field, volleyball, basketball, shooting and Jiu Jitsu. But something they do offer a more bijoux racket in, is everybody’s fave new court sport — padel tennis, with rental from Dhs240.

Erth, Khor Al Maqta, gym day passes from Dhs151, padel court rental from Dhs240, football pitch rental from Dhs504. Tel: (02) 497 5229, Etizan.ae 

The Yas Padel Tennis Hub

Now open at Yas Marina, the Yas Padel Tennis Hub features four dedicated courts, with ‘an embedded music system’ (which seems to be one of the most important features of this most recent wave of padel projects) and packages offering 90 and 120-minute sessions from Dhs250 (between four people).

Set to arrive sometime in the second quarter of 2022. @yaspadel

Images: Provided