The Rise and Evolution of Pop Tennis

A Fast-Paced Racket Game Revolutionizing the Tennis World

Pop tennis, formerly known as paddle tennis, has been making waves since its inception in 2015. With roots tracing back over a century, this racket game has evolved from its tennis counterpart, offering players a unique and exciting experience on a smaller court without doubles lanes. The game is gaining increasing popularity, especially in Dubai and Egypt, where local leagues and tournaments are frequently organized.

Invented in 1898 by Episcopal minister Frank Peter Beal in Albion, Michigan, pop tennis was initially intended as a recreational activity for neighborhood children. Beal’s vision led to the creation of pop tennis courts in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, Lower Manhattan in 1915. The sport’s popularity skyrocketed, leading to the first tournament in 1922 and the formation of the United States Paddle Tennis Association (USPTA) a year later. By 1941, paddle tennis was being played in almost 500 American cities.

Although Frank Peter Beal is recognized as the game’s inventor, Murray Geller played a pivotal role in transforming the sport into its modern-day version. Geller, a player during the 1940s and ’50s, was elected chairman of the USPTA rules committee. He introduced several features, including an enlarged court and an underhanded serve, to make the game more appealing to adults.

Pop tennis has its iconic figures as well. Scott Freedman, a legendary player, has amassed an impressive record, winning the world’s men’s singles paddle tennis championships 19 times, the world men’s doubles championships 16 times, and the world mixed doubles 14 times. Freedman’s accomplishments have inspired many aspiring pop tennis players, and he even authored a book titled “Paddle Tennis and Tennis Anyone Can Play.”

While pop tennis stands out as a unique game, there are similar sports that have gained popularity as well. Platform tennis, invented in 1928 in Scarsdale, New York, shares similarities with pop tennis but features a slightly shorter court and different court materials. Padel, often confused with paddle tennis, is another sport played in doubles on an enclosed court about half the size of a tennis court. It enjoys widespread popularity in Spain and Hispanic America. Additionally, pickleball, invented in 1965, combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis, offering a fast-paced gameplay experience.

Pop tennis courts are typically constructed using the same materials as tennis courts, or they can be placed on hard beach sand for a unique twist. The court measures 50 feet baseline-to-baseline and 20 feet across, with a service line 3 feet from the baseline. The net is set at a height of 31 inches. East and west coast styles of courts exist, with the latter incorporating a restraint line placed 12 feet back parallel to the net.

In pop tennis, serves must be underhand, and a second serve is only allowed if the ball hits the net and lands in bounds. Scoring follows the same method as tennis, with matches being played as the best of five sets. The paddle used in pop tennis is solid with no strings, and it may be perforated to enhance player control. Once the ball comes into contact with any walls or fences, the point is considered over, mirroring the rules of tennis.

Pop tennis is gaining momentum, attracting players of all ages and skill levels. Its fast-paced, reaction-based gameplay and emphasis on net play create an exciting and engaging experience for both players and spectators alike. As the sport continues to evolve, it is likely to garner even more attention worldwide.

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2. “Paddle Tennis.” Archived from the original on 2013-08-22. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
3. “A Guide to Pop Tennis (Paddle Tennis)” Retrieved 2020-07-02.
4. “Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame Home”
5. “Platform Tennis vs. Padel vs. Paddle Tennis” Retrieved 2020-03-29.
6. “Pop Tennis (Paddle Tennis) Rules & Court Dimensions” Retrieved 2020-07-02.

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