McALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — One of the fastest-growing sports in the world is now developing in the Rio Grande Valley.

Padel is a racket sport that combines elements of tennis and racquetball while incorporating rules and regulations of its own.

The highly competitive international sport originated 54 years ago in Mexico and is gaining popularity across Latin America, Europe and the United States.

RGV Padel Club, a new sports complex in McAllen, aims for players of all ages and skills to engage in the energizing sport.

ValleyCentral spoke to Padel Club owners Jose Ronquillo and Victor Parra about the up-and-coming international sport.

Ronquillo has been playing racket sports since he was eight years old. During his childhood, he saw the social sport growing in his home country.

“Where I’m from, Ciudad Victoria, I played there a couple of times,” Ronquillo said. “It’s more social than tennis since it’s played with four people.”

Padel requires less physical effort and conditioning compared to its racket sport counterparts, making it an easy sport to pick up.

“In tennis it’s a lot hard to master. And in here you can play it without being too good. People can come play and they can have fun,” Ronquillo said.

Similarities that Padel has to tennis is that both sports share the same scoring system. Distinct differences in Padel set it apart from other racket sports, including tennis.

Padel courts are designed for four players and are one-third smaller than a tennis court. The court includes enclosed walls as a method of strategy to keep to game continuous and prevent the ball from escaping during gameplay.

Padel balls compared to tennis will have less of a bounce in order to reduce the speed of the ball bouncing off the walls.

The international sport uses a different racket made with different material, using carbon fiber on its core instead of strings. Padel rackets are significantly smaller in size, resembling a round teardrop shape.

The game is played in doubles, with four players only. Important rules are that a player must serve underhand only. In order for a team to win a point, the ball must hit the floor first, not the wall.

Before Padel Club opened its doors, people from Mexico noticed the popularity of the sport in their home country, wanting to try it out in the United States.

“A lot of people from Mexico, from Monterrey and Saltillo that they live here, but their families from over there,” Ronquillo said. “They noticed the growing of Padel in Mexico, so they wanted to try it out.”

RGV Padel Club is the first of its kind in the Valley and one of few clubs across Texas. As the international sport continues to grow in the United States, the owners decided to establish the Padel community in the Rio Grande Valley.

“We wanted to get a little bit of a jumpstart here in the Valley because there’s a lot of tennis players here in the Valley,” Parra said. “This sport in Europe, it’s already becoming an Olympic sport, we hope that the whole United States can actually get a good taste of it.”

The International Olympic Committee recognized Padel as an international sport in September of 2019, making the sport one step closer to becoming an Olympic tournament.