SIR ANDY Murray has expressed his excitement after investing in padel tennis - described as a cross between tennis and squash - and tipped it to become huge across the world.
The Scottish former world number one tennis ace - who celebrated his 32nd birthday today - has added to his investment portfolio with a stake in Edinburgh-based company Game4Padel.
Game4Padel’s aim is to become the market leader in the UK padel tennis market which is tipped to be on the verge of the same exciting and explosive growth seen in many other countries around the world.
Two-time Wimbledon champion Murray, said today that he was “excited” to announced his involvement.
He said: “It’s great for young people to play a variety of sports and Padel is a fast-paced game which is excellent for developing hand eye co-ordination and racket skills.
“Padel is one of the fastest emerging racket sports in the world right now, and it’s really exciting to be involved in an organisation like Game4Padel, who are experts in their field and have sports growth and longevity at the heart of their business.”
Created in South America in 1969, padel uses the tennis scoring system and has very similar balls, but it is played on a 10mx20m squash-like court with enclosed glass walls.
The sport has been stated as the fastest growing in the world and one of the most fun and addictive.
Already popular in many European and Latin American countries, in Spain it is now second only to football in participation numbers, with 6 million players on over 5,500 courts.
The number of courts in the UK has doubled to over 60 in just 18 months but based on the experience of Spain and many other European nations that number is expected to grow exponentially.
Game4Padel will work with a wide variety of British sports venues - local authorities, tennis and multi sports clubs and universities - to finance, install, maintain and operate padel courts. It will also create bespoke playing programmes and support networks to maximise success at grassroots level.
After a “successful and heavily oversubscribed” first round of private investment, Game4Padel has already received interest from a wide variety of sports venues across the UK and last month hosted a first open day for over 20 interested tennis clubs.
Jim McMahon, Executive Chair of Game4Padel said: “It is fantastic to have one of this country’s greatest ever sportsmen join our business. We have a clear vision on how we can grow Padel in the UK and Andy’s involvement is a key part of that plan. We are all looking forward to working with Andy to achieve our aim.”