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Racquet World

Paddle Tennis

In 1898 paddle tennis was created in Albion, MI, by Frank P. Peal, as a way to teach children tennis. Peal simply divided the dimensions of a tennis court in half, and replaced the tennis ball with a rubber ball and the racket with a wood paddle. Beal then took the game to New York City where it gained in popularity, and was played by children in the streets and on specially made courts.

The game is currently played on a court measuring 50 by 20 feet, using a punctured tennis ball and a wood paddle. The two places that the sport has its largest participation is in New York City and Southern California. There are more courts and players in California then any other location, including the most famous courts in the game at Venice Beach, home of the US Open of Paddle Tennis.

Some of the famous names to play the sport include Hall of Famer Althea Gibson, who played on the streets of New York, during her childhood, before taking up tennis. Former US Open champion Bobby Riggs, best known for his historic match against Billie Jean King, was a champion paddle tennis player before starting his tennis career.