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Rules and scoring

Padel: rules of the game

Updated
December 13, 2023
Padel: rules of the game

If you're familiar with tennis, padel rules are easy to catch onto quickly.

The court

A padel court is a 20x10 meter rectangle bisected by a net and ringed by 3 to 4 meter walls. Normally, the ground is artificial turf and the walls are made of glass and metal fence.

Padel courts require at least 6 unobstructed meters above

The padel court's lines indicate the service boxes.

Thinking about building your own padel court. Learn more here.

Scoring

Sets

Unlike tennis, which is sometimes played as a best of 5 sets, padel is always played as a best of 3 sets. This means that a team needs to win 2 sets to the win the match.

Padel sets are scored the same as tennis - they are won with 6 games. Sets must won by a two point lead. Therefore, sets arriving at a score of 6 games to 5 will result in either 7-5 or 6-6 and a tiebreak, which is notated as 7-6.

Tiebreak

A tiebreak is a special type of game which is played to 7 points, again won by 2 points. In a tiebreak, team A serves once, then team B serves twice - first from the backhand side, then from the forehand side and so on. Tiebreaks can continue indefinitely until a team reaches a 2 point lead.

Games

Padel "games" are scored similarly to tennis with the conventional 15-30-40-game scoring.

Why is tennis scoring so weird?

Tennis is so old - beginning in the 12th century with rackets added by the 16th - no one knows where the bizarre game scoring comes from.

One of the leading theories is that the quartiles of a clock were used to keep score, with 45 being changed to 40, to accommodate for deuce scenarios where the advantage score would be 50.

Scoring etiquette and details

Normally, the server says the score before their serve, in the sequence: [server's score] [returner's score]. So if a server had won 3 out of 4 of the first 4 points in the game, they would say the score as "40-15."

Players and tournament organizers decide whether they would like games arriving at a "Deuce" 40-40 score to end by 2 points, as is conventional in tennis, or in a "Golden Point."

If playing with a 2 point advantage, then the server will call the score "Ad-in" or "Ad-out". Alternatively, the server may say "your advantage" or "my advantage."

Golden Point

If playing with a "Golden Point," or Punto de Oro, the returning side selects which side the server serves to: either the backhand-side or the forehand-side.

Serving

Your serve must be hit below the waist, cross-court. Serves must land in the opposite service box. Serves hitting the metal fence are out. Servers have double faults.

For the full lesson on serving, go here.

The Wall

The wall is the most intimidating part of padel for beginners, but after this series, you'll love the wall.

For your shot to be in, it must travel over the net and contact the ground of your opponent's side before hitting the wall or the fence.

You may play the ball, "boast," off the wall (the glass) but not the fence.

The Net

The ball must pass over the net to your side before you hit it. You may only contact the ball on the opponent's side when countering a smash that has already crossed the net.

You may not touch the net with your body or clothing.

Hinderances, obstructions and interferences

You may not shout or otherwise try to distract your opponent by shouting, for example.

You may not touch the ball with your body or clothing.

You may not contact the ball twice with your racket.

You may not touch your opponent's side of the court, including the turf as well as the fence.

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FAQs

How does padel scoring differ from tennis?

Why is tennis scoring so weird?

Padel is played as a best of 3 sets. Padel tournaments often use the "Golden Point," where "deuce" games are won by one point.

Tennis is so old that no one knows where the bizarre game scoring comes from. One of the leading theories is that the quartiles of a clock was used to keep score, with 45 being changed to 40, to accommodate for deuce scenarios where the advantage score would be 50.

Hello and welcome!

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