Padel rules

Padel is a super fun and exciting sport that combines elements of tennis and squash. Padel is an easy sport to play once you understand the rules compared to tennis or squash, according to our Padel expert. If you want to dive into this awesome game in South Africa, check out these simple rules to get you started. Want to see the official rules? Join Virgin Active today. Save when you book a Padel court and enjoy other exclusive benefits as a Virgin Active member.

How to play

The basics

Padel is usually played in doubles, with two teams of two players each. The court is smaller than a traditional tennis court, and it has walls surrounding it, just like in squash.


Padel tennis follows a similar scoring system to tennis. You start at “love” or zero, and points go 15, 30, 40, and game. However, if the score reaches 40-40, it’s called “deuce,” and the next team to win two consecutive points wins the game.


The server must stand behind the baseline and serve underhanded, hitting the ball below waist level. The serve must be hit diagonally to the opponent’s service box, just like in tennis.

Ball in play

Once the serve is made, the ball must bounce once on the ground before players can return it.. After that, you can choose to let the ball hit the walls first or hit it on the fly, it’s all up to you!

Volleys and smash

Padel is all about keeping the ball in play and using the walls to your advantage. You can hit the ball off the walls at any time, even after the bounce. Oh, and here’s the fun part: smashing! If the ball bounces near the net, you can jump up and smash it down into your opponent’s court for an epic shot.

Serving order

At the start of the game, you can decide who serves first with a friendly coin toss or any other method you prefer. After that, the serving team alternates serving every game. The serving order within the team also alternates after each point.

Let's keep it civil

Padel tennis is all about having a great time, so be a good sport and respect your opponents. Avoid hindering their shot or creating any unnecessary distractions. It’s all about fair play and enjoying the game together.