The Federacion International Padel or FIP was founded in July 1991 and is the international governing body for the sport of Padel. The non-profit making organisation was created by the Argentinian, the Spanish and the Uruguayan Federation legal representatives. The main offices are based in Lausanne, Madrid and Rome. The sport was invented in 1962 by Enrique Coruera, who was based in Acapulco, Mexico. It is most popular in Hispanic American countries, especially in Argentina and Mexico. It is also played throughout Spain and Andorra. The Padel Pro Tour was created in 2005, but currently the most important circuit is the World Padel Tour. It started in Spain and has now extended to several locations outside of Spain. Portugal is one of those nations and with British expats living in the Algarve and Costa del Sol, the popularity extended to the United Kingdom and the subsequent formation of the UK Padel Federation in 2011.
Padel is a racket sport and is predominantly played in doubles on a court a third in size of a tennis court. The court is normally enclosed, but tournaments are also played outdoors. The rules are very similar to normal tennis with a few differences. The rackets are solid, perforated and with no strings, the balls have a little less pressure and the courts have walls that can be played off in a similar way to squash. The serve is also different in that the height of the ball must be at or below the waist level. The rules state the courts must be rectangular with the length at 20 metres and a width at 10 metres. The walls on the side and back must be 3 metres in height. A net separates the court and has a maximum height in the middle of 88 centimetres. The scoring method is the same as with tennis. Padel is not to be confused with platform tennis, both a winter and summer sport played in the USA and Canada where the courts are heated from below to eliminate snow and water.
Padel is a fast-growing sport approaching nearly 30 international members. The competitions include a professional world tour, regional championships and world championships for juniors and seniors. These are all managed by FIP. One of the main missions of FIP is to foster and grow the development of the sport worldwide. The focus is also at junior levels and schools so that all age groups are involved. FIP acts as a reference centre and also manages the integrity, autonomy and independence of the sport.