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INTERVIEW: Getting to know Padel through Egypt Padel Tour

Following the breakthrough of padel in Egypt in recent years, KingFut got the opportunity to sit down with Egypt Padel Tour founder Nofal to discuss several aspects of the sport, what is EPT, and their goals.

Found in 1969 by Mexican businessman Enrique Corcuera after not finding enough space to put in a tennis court at his home, Padel is a racquet sport that combines the elements of tennis, squash, and badminton.

The court is defined as an area 20m long x 10m wide, one-third of the size of a tennis court, and is surrounded by walls of glass and metallic mash. The ball can bounce of any wall but can only hit the turf once before being returned. Points can be scored when the ball does bounce twice in the competitors' field.

Despite being around for several years, the sport came to Egypt just in 2014; however, it didn't take long to get picked up and its popularity rose quickly and one of the reasons behind that is Egypt Padel Tour (EPT).

When asked to give us an insight into the sport and its breakthrough in the Egyptian scene, EPT's founder Ibrahim Nofal said: “Padel appeared in Egypt back in 2014, but didn't pick up till 2017.

“It was only available in the elite compounds like Katameya Heights and Palm Hills, then expanded to the new Giza sports club and ZED club.

“However, during the pandemic, it exploded and increased exponentially as it was the only activity available to the people when all clubs were closed and people were still afraid of gatherings so padel was the safest outdoor activity to be done in small groups.

“Another main reason is that the ‘entry barrier' or the learning curve is short and it can be picked up in no time and from the first time you can play a full match,” he added.

Clearing the confusion between Padel and Paddle tennis, he said: “Paddle tennis is a smaller version of tennis with some changes in its Terran or surface but same rules apply, but it's not as popular as padel, and people always get confused with it.”

“Lately, Padel became very popular as a lot of celebrities play it, like players, such as Mohamed , , Hazem Emam, Gedo, Meteb, and even footballing legends like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham. Moreover, famous tennis players such as Rafael Nadal were seen playing it too.”

It all sounds good, but what should someone do to get into the sport for the first time? “For first-timers, I would suggest choosing one of the venues and operators that have courts and approach them and hire a coach to teach you,” Nofal said.

Asked about their goals and message, he answered: “EPT came to life to start structuring the tournaments scene in Egypt, aiming to take it to the next level.

“We are doing that through a series of tournaments organized professionally and by using our website where all tools and information are available. All results, player details, and players' rankings are updated monthly and at the end of the season.

“There will be a season finale where all players in Egypt will compete for the biggest prize money in Egypt.

“EPT is also known as the ‘1 million tour', it is committed to awarding its winners a minimum total of 1 million EGP during the 2021 season.

“So far we have organized six tournaments and we have seven left during this season.

“We have around 500 members in EPT, and we had 860 entries across our six tournaments, our plan is to have at least 1,000 competitive padel players in Egypt by 2023.

“We have created the tour in a way that allows everyone to join through dividing it into seven divisions, open A for professionals, open B for intermediates, and open C for beginners.

“We also have divisions for seniors (+40 ), women, juniors (under 18 ), and a mixed team division (1 male + 1 female).”

“We also have a ranking system where each round you reach gives you a specific number of points and we have different tournament types that provide a different number of points.”

Regarding future plans and collaborations with other associations, Nofal said: “We are focusing on developing the sport in Egypt, but we have been approached by multiple clubs and associations from all over the world to allow our players to join their tournaments and their players to join ours.

“The ministry of youth & sports is aware of the sport and they are making efforts to help it grow, they have promised us that they will be putting it on their radar,” he concluded. would like to thank EPT and Ibrahim Nofal for their time and wish them all the best in their future endeavours. You can check EPT on their own website

Latest articles from the KingFut Team, covering Egyptian football in English from the National Teams to the Pharaohs Abroad.

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