Is Everyone Playing Padel Without Us?


SANTIAGO, Chile — There are only a handful of places to play pickleball here in Chile’s capital. Next month, there will be one fewer.
In its place, a padel court will rise.
“There’s just not enough people for it to be a profitable business right now,” said Nicolas Flores, 34, a founder of the Chile Padel Academy, said. “It was a no-brainer.”
The two sports took off during the pandemic as people turned to socially distanced activities. They’re on parallel tracks. Pickleball is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States, while padel (pronounced PAH-del) is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world.
The schism is yet another example of American sports exceptionalism. If pickleball is Fahrenheit, padel is Celsius. It’s the centimeters to our inches, the football to our “football.”


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