Paddle tennis traces its roots back over a hundred years to its development by an Episcopal minister, Frank Peer Beal, in lower Manhattan. Wanting to create recreational activities for neighborhood children, he got the city’s parks and recreation department to lay courts in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village in 1915. The first tournament was held in 1922, and the United States Paddle Tennis Associated was formed the following year. By 1941, paddle tennis was being played in almost 500 American cities.
Although Frank Beal is known as the games inventor, Murray Geller, a player in the 1940s and ‘50s, was instrumental in creating the modern game. Elected chairman of the USPTA rules committee, he wanted to make the game more appealing to adults and instituted features including an enlarged court and an underhanded serve.
Platform tennis, a later development is often called Paddle Tennis.
There are two other similar racquet sports that may be referred by the word Paddle. The first is Platform tennis. Platform tennis was invented in 1928 in Scarsdale, New York, United States by James Cogswell and Fessenden Blanchard. The second is Padel tennis. Padel tennis (or just Padel) is very popular in Spain and Latin America. Padel Tennis was invented in 1969 in Mexico by Enrique Corcuera.
The paddle is made of solid material such as wood or a composite of a rubberized or titanium core covered with graphite, and contains no strings. It is usually textured or perforated and may have a metal rim around the head. Its dimensions are limited to 18" in length and 9.5" in width.
- Players: Played in both singles or doubles.
- Serves: Serve must be underhand. Only one serve is allowed, no second serves as in tennis.
- Score: Scoring method is the same as in tennis. Matches are best of three sets.
- Ball: Tennis ball with reduced pressure.
- Paddle: Solid with no strings. May be perforated.
- Court: There are two styles of courts. East and West coast styles.
- Walls: Walls or fences are not part of the game.