It’s becoming increasingly evident that in both phase 1 and 2 of lockdown padel can only be practised in a singles format. And although we would all like to enjoy padel as it was originally conceived, playing in pairs, we have to adapt to what the health authorities allow, and playing singles is undoubtedly better than not playing at all.
Playing padel 1-on-1 does have its advantages. We can work on our individual technique, and as we touch the ball much more frequently without a partner to help us out, it’s more physical too.
Singles matches can be played on two types of court. One option is to play on singles courts. Although they’re not the most common type of court, some clubs do have them. Singles courts are painted like a doubles court, but with different dimensions. The width is narrower than the official court, measuring 6 metres (compared with 10 metres on the official court), but its length is exactly the same. Having the lines of service boxes marked out on the singles court as they are on the official court means service can be changed at each point, just like we would in a tennis match.
However, the most common way to play singles matches is on regulatory padel courts. In this case, matches are played on the same court as always, where doubles matches normally take place. Play occurs diagonally, across the court, and those are the only two boxes used. There are many variants on the ‘rules’ of cross-play, but we recommend the following:
- Changing sides after every point. With this rule, the match begins with both players on their right-hand side. The next point is then played on their left-hand side, and so on. This way, we play on both sides of the court, compensating for any specialisation a player might have for a particular side.
- Single service. Although we are normally allowed two attempts at service in padel, we suggest that cross-court matches are played with only one service. This will give less advantage to the server and even out the game slightly, while also meaning there is the chance of a double-fault at every point, sustaining tension and forcing us to think carefully about where to direct the service.
•Second-bounce rule. With this rule, we follow the play of doubles matches. If our opponent’s ball bounces twice on our side of the court, regardless of whether the first bounce is made on the non-playing parallel side, it is considered a valid point. Meanwhile, if the second bounce of our opponent’s balls occurs on the non-playing parallel side, it will not be considered valid, even if the first bounce was on the correct side of the court. Some examples: if we make a drop-shot with a lot of spin and the first bounce falls on the side we’re not playing on, but the second bounce does fall on the side that we are, it’s considered a point. In another instance, if we play a shot where the first rebound comes off our side wall and then off the back wall, and the second bounce eventually falls on our opponent’s side, it would not be considered valid.
In any case, given the current situation we find ourselves in, it is fundamental that we follow all hygiene precautions in order to play safely. We suggest you always carry the following items in your kitbag: hydrogel to regularly disinfect your hands, a latex glove to wear on the non-dominant hand (although it has a limited effect, it’ll remind us to not touch our face), a cap or visor to prevent our hair from falling on our face and making us touch it with our hands, and wristbands to dry our sweat without using our hands. We also suggest you follow the recommendations of the ITF (International Tennis Federation) and that each player is assigned balls during the game so that they don’t touch the opponent’s ball with their hands.
Let’s start enjoying our sport safely.
Little by little, we’ll get there!