ACLO scores padel court

The padel court officially opened at Zernike on Thursday. Even though it is only temporary, ACLO is pleased with the new facilities. ‘We are bringing the second most popular sport in Spain to Groningen.’

Through a collaboration between Padel Service Nederland and TAM, the Albertus tennis club, a padel court will be open at the Zernike ACLO facilities for the next three months. ‘The sport, which is virtually unknown in the Netherlands, has been brought over from Spain’, says Reinier Sombeek, chairperson of the ACLO board.

‘It’s a combination of squash and tennis’, he explains. Sombeek plays tennis himself and is a fervent fan of the Spanish sport. ‘The ball can be played off of the glass walls, which gives the game a whole other dimension than tennis. For beginners, it doesn’t make that big of a difference, but experienced padel players are clearly playing a sport that is fundamentally distinct from tennis.’ During the official opening on Thursday, two padel players demonstrated how the game is played.

70 years of ACLO

It was Padel Service Nederland that approached ACLO. ‘In light of our lustrum – this year, ACLO has existed for 70 years – we thought it would be cool to do this. The court is only supposed to be here for three months, up to and during the TAM Open Tournament in July. If it’s a big success, it may remain open longer’, Sombeek says. He would not say how much it cost to build the court.

The padel court is the first in the north of the Netherlands, and everyone that is a member of ACLO can give the sport a try for five euros. ‘We are getting a lot of positive reactions, but the court hasn’t been that overcrowded so far’, Sombeek says. ‘I think that everyone is still kind of getting used to this new sport.’