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The Difference Between Tennis vs. Padel

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. March 12, 2024
The Difference Between Tennis vs. Padel

While tennis has been a sport for centuries, padel is a variation which was only developed in the mid-to-late 20th century. While the reputation of tennis is well established, padel is a growing sport which is gaining new fans and players every day. Although it has been very popular in some countries for a long time, it is only relatively recently that its popularity has spread to other places outside of Spanish-speaking countries. While both games are racket sports played on a court, there are differences in the equipment, rules and playing style. If you are thinking about playing either tennis or padel, it will be very helpful to make a comparison between them.

oneHOWTO makes such a comparison by explaining the difference between tennis vs. padel. We look at how these games are played to see if one might suit you better than the other.

You may also be interested in: How Many Calories are Burned Playing Tennis
  1. Playing surface of tennis vs. padel
  2. Tennis vs. padel court measurements
  3. Tennis vs. padel rackets
  4. Tennis vs. padel balls
  5. Tennis vs. padel playing style
  6. Tennis players vs. padel players

Playing surface of tennis vs. padel

The surfaces for playing these two racket sports are specific to each game. While there are some similarities, there are important differences in the playing surfaces of padel and tennis courts:

  • Tennis: can be played on grass or clay, as well as hard courts made from concrete or asphalt. Carpeted tennis courts exist, but they are rare.
  • Padel: is almost always played on artificial grass or synthetic turf surfaces. It can be played on hard courts made out of cement or clay, but they are not typical.

It is important to note that the surface of the court can affect the style of play. Harder surfaces tend to have faster bounces, so you should factor this in when choosing where to play.

Learn more about another sport played on grass with our article on how to practice cricket at home.

Tennis vs. padel court measurements

The measurements of the court are another factor that helps us to tell the difference between tennis and padel. Court measurements for padel vs tennis are the following:


  • Width: 8.23 meters
  • Length: 23.76 meters
  • Doubles sideline: 1.37 meters wider
  • Height of the net on the sides: 1.07 meters
  • Height of the net in the center: 0.914 meters
  • Length of the central mark: 0.1 meters
  • Length of the service box: 6.4 meters
  • Bottom space: equal to or greater than 6.4 meters
  • Lateral space: equal to or greater than 3.65 meters


  • Dimensions of the playing surface: 10 meters wide by 20 meters long
  • Half court: each half of the court represents a perfect square of 10 meters by 10 meters
  • Width of lines: each line has a maximum width of 5 centimeters
  • Color of lines: lines must be light in color, generally white, for easy distinguishability from the surface
  • Distance between wall and service line: there is a 3-meter distance between the wall and the service line
  • Side wall dimensions (European variety): side walls can be rectangular, 4 meters long in steps
  • Side wall height: side walls are 3 meters high
  • Wall closure: the court is enclosed by 4 walls, each with a minimum height of 3 meters

As you can see, one of the main differences between tennis and padel is the fact that padel uses walls at the sides. This does not happen in tennis. In tennis, once the ball bounces outside the perimeter lines, it is out and the point is lost. In padel, the use of walls is intrinsic to the playing style. We explain more below.

The Difference Between Tennis vs. Padel - Tennis vs. padel court measurements

Tennis vs. padel rackets

Another difference between tennis and padel is in the racket. One of the most basic differences is the nomenclature. In tennis, the racket is simply known as a tennis racket. In padel, the racket is known as a padel (‘paddle’), from which the sport's name is derived.

Padel rackets are smaller than tennis rackets and much thicker. They have a flat surface and are a solid piece of material in which holes have been drilled. Tennis rackets are stringed rackets. They have strings that are pulled to a tension across a rim. The racket uses this tension to propel the ball across the large courts.

Both padel and tennis rackets are made from different materials. They include the following:

  • Graphite
  • Carbon Fiber
  • Fiberglass
  • Composite Materials
  • Aluminum

Aluminum is not as common a material. You can still find wooden tennis rackets, but they are rare. Although they were the game standard at one point, they were phased out during the 1970s, just as the game of padel was being developed.

The Difference Between Tennis vs. Padel - Tennis vs. padel rackets

Tennis vs. padel balls

Tennis and paddle balls are the same at first glance. In fact, many players use the same ones when playing both sports. This is a common mistake because paddle balls have lower pressure than tennis balls.

This is due to padel balls bouncing off harder surfaces, especially off walls. They require less pressure so that players can control them better. At the amateur level, there is no noticeable change in pressure on the balls, but professional padel players would never use tennis balls.

The Difference Between Tennis vs. Padel - Tennis vs. padel balls

Tennis vs. padel playing style

Padel and tennis have different playing styles. In padel, players tend to execute softer, more placed shots instead of hard, powerful shots. Tennis focuses more on precision and power, requiring many hours of repetition of movements to master the different types of hits and get the ball onto the playing court, while in padel it is necessary to pay more attention to the strategy and control.

Both tennis and padel have the same basic scoring system where points are scored when the opponent cannot return the ball. However, padel has the added factor of being able to hit the ball against the walls. This can make for complicated returns. The more skilled player becomes, the better they will be able to use the walls to their advantage. Tennis is more ‘classic’ in this regard, but one sport is not more difficult than the other.

The Difference Between Tennis vs. Padel - Tennis vs. padel playing style

Tennis players vs. padel players

Tennis is generally played in either singles games or doubles. This means one against one or two against two, respectively. Padel is always played with a minimum of four players. This means doubles is the norm for padel. Two teams of 4 players can also play, something which is commonly known as 4x4 padel.

As explained above, in paddle tennis players must hit the ball after it bounces off the wall. This an additional challenge compared to tennis.

Now that you know the difference between tennis and paddle tennis, you may also be interested in knowing how many calories you can burn while playing tennis.

If you want to read similar articles to The Difference Between Tennis vs. Padel, we recommend you visit our Sports category.

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The Difference Between Tennis vs. Padel