Two years ago they gave padel a test run in Palma, and the rest is history.
Thomas Engström and his wife Lena Alderö Engström had just moved to Mallorca from Bangkok, where the constant 38 degrees made it too hot to try the outdoor padel courts.
Now Thomas organizes Estate Mallorca Magazine’s padel game EMMPadel.
– There is something about hitting that ball that makes me crave padel, he says.
In Bangkok the intense heat made Thomas and Lena avoid getting more sweaty than necessary. But on the marvellous island of Mallorca they enjoy playing padel several times a week. It all began thanks to their friend Camilla Bröms who took them to Pins Padel in Palma.
– We lost that first game, of course, says Thomas, who is our photographer here at Estate Mallorca Magazine (EMM).
– But it was great all the same! I never played squash or tennis before, just table tennis as a kid, so there was quite a lot to learn. But we quickly caught on, and came back for more.
Having a really healthy interest that is fun and addictive can’t be wrong. And playing 8 days a week is not too much …
– The best thing about padel is that it’s something really enjoyable that you can do with your partner even as you are getting on in life.
The game was born in Mexico in 1969, but the rules from the early padel era are different from today’s. There is yet another kind of paddel too, spelt with two d’s, with its own rules.
Spanish people tend to play padel back and forth with long balls. Expats seem to go for the quicker version of the game.- Padel the Palma way is very social, says Thomas.- It doesn’t matter if you are well off or not. It’s just 5 euros per person for an hour and half game at Club U36 in Palma and no-one cares what kind of a car you drive or how big your house is. We are all the same on the padel court.
It’s so easy to make friends. In some of the countries we have lived, people used to chat about hanging out with with the rich and famous. At the padel courts in Palma people chat about everyday things and life in general and connect in another way.
What is the big secret – why is padel so popular?
– Because it’s a family game where everyone can join in, says Thomas. He assures us it’s fun to look at padel on TV too and to watch live games on World Padel Tour.
As it’s Spain’s most popular folk sport after football, it seemed like a great idea to get some organized games going, especially since outdoor padel has been allowed even during harsh covid-19 measures. Thomas rounded up a lot of fellow Swedes and created
Svenska Padelgruppen Palma.
– There are more than 60 of us playing on Sundays at Club U36, where the participants are divided over 24 courts, says Thomas.
– Now we are starting Estate Mallorca Magazine’s padel games – EMMPadel – for anyone who would like to join in at Club U36 on Saturdays between 14.00 and 15.30.
Sign up here!
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
– Everyone is welcome, you don’t need to have any experience at all.
Once people have been playing for a while Thomas and his padel pals hope to organize some tournaments with us at Estate Mallorca Magazine, as well with social events and so on. But let’s get the regulations on our side first.
How do you experience padel addiction, Thomas?–
– I can feel the pull in every cell of my body – I am itching to get that (damn) ball over the net!
Text: Charlotte von Proschwitz.
Photo: Thomas Engstrom.