Is padel a play on words for paddle? One might assume these racket sports are one and the same; however, their differences are far more pronounced than their similarities. Wilton resident Patricio Misitrano wants to set the record straight as one of four founding members of The Sports Haus, a new padel and pickleball club scheduled to open its doors in July in South Norwalk.
Padel (pronounced pah – DEHL) is a combination of tennis and squash. According to Misitrano, “Padel is played on an enclosed court longer than paddle and pickleball courts and smaller than a tennis court. The rules are similar to tennis, although only doubles are allowed and the ball with less pressure than a tennis ball can be played off the wall.”
As Misitrano sees it, padel is a logical crossover from other racket sports.
“The interplay between the court and wall areas lends itself to a fast-paced and high-energy, competitive experience. It’s a super fun sport that is socially more interactive and physically more demanding. Since the game is easy to learn, it can be played by a variety of skill levels, making it ideal for any member of the family to pick up,” he said
As a child in his home country of Argentina, Misitrano played many sports eventually gravitating to racket sports. But by age 12, he decided to focus his talents solely on tennis and was good enough to be recruited to play at a US college through a sports scholarship.
Post-college, Misitrano directed competitive racket programs at many prestigious Northeast country clubs including Greenwich, New Canaan, Tamarack and Wee Burn. On the court, he remains an equally fierce competitor, recently winning the championship title with his partner and Sport Haus co-founder Juan Martinez-Arraya in the 2022 United States Tennis Association National Men’s 40 Clay Court Doubles.
Now Misitrano’s focus is managing The Sports Haus and expanding access to meet the demand for padel and pickleball, the fast-growing sport in the US.
Padel is a relative newcomer to the US, tracing its origins to Acapulco, Mexico. In 1969, the sport’s founder Enrique Corcuera didn’t have enough space in his backyard to install tennis courts so instead decided to build a court that could be played with less powerful strokes.
Space seems to be a recurring obstacle for padel to expand its footprint in the US. According to Misitrano, limited locations and court space availability cannot keep up with racket enthusiast interest.
“The challenge is finding clubs that have dedicated padel courts. Last summer, New York City welcomed its first padel club to Brooklyn with four courts joining just a handful of padel courts across the US,” he said.
The Sports Haus will feature five professional play padel courts, four pickleball courts and two golf simulators. The club offers dedicated men’s and women’s locker rooms and strategically placed spaces for viewing or socializing to encourage members to create a community beyond the courts. By putting a cap on memberships, Misitrano is hopeful there will be more availability of courts to meet demand. Private and group lessons as well as clinics will all be offered in each discipline.
He hopes The Sports Haus will contribute to helping more and more people enjoy racket sports.
“We believe that any new club even one right next door to us is going to be a game changer for greater access and engagement. More courts create more opportunities for tournaments, inter-clubs and leagues. We value more competition to help us grow these sports together and showcase how fun and dynamic they can be.”
CORRECTION: This article has been updated to correct one misspelling of Misitrano’s name, the square footage of the club, and the number of courts.