Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum, UAEPA President. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The UAE Padel Association (UAEPA), which governs the sport of padel across the UAE, has launched the Mashreq Padel Tour 2023 – the country’s first dedicated community tournament series for amateurs.

Comprising 20 tournaments over eight competition weeks running February to December, the Mashreq Padel Tour 2023 carries a total prize purse of AED 350,000 in its debut season.

Padel popularity

The scale of the inaugural Tour and its significant prize pool underscores the UAEPA’s ambitious blueprint for growing the sport nationally by increasing adoption of the world’s fastest growing sport across all nationalities, age groups, genders, and abilities.

“The popularity of padel in the UAE has exceeded all expectations at the recreational level, and we are embracing this unparalleled growth by introducing a nationwide event to further elevate the padel community, tournament standards, and players’ competitive experience,” said Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum, UAEPA President.

“The Mashreq Padel Tour 2023 represents a new era for UAE padel and underlines our commitment to develop the sport nationwide. The inaugural Tour will be a strategic enabler to realise the Association’s objectives of fostering increased standards for players, organisers, and clubs, as well as aiding the national vision of a more active population regularly pursuing healthy sporting pursuits,” added Sheikh Saeed.

The Mashreq Padel Tour will traverse four Emirates in its first season, with registered players in men’s, women’s or open categories receiving ranking points linked to their final standing in three competitions: UAEPA10, UAEPA100, and UAEPAE&E, which must feature two-player teams comprising an Emirati and an expatriate. A fourth competition for U-16s that is open to boys or girls depending on the tournament will not be ranked.

Padel tennis lead
Six padel clubs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Ajman will host the eight tournament weeks.

Six padel clubs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Ajman will host the eight tournament weeks, starting with the Mashreq Padel Tour 2023 opener at World Padel Academy in Dubai from February 17-19. The kick-off event will feature three competition categories: UAEPA10 (men’s), UAEPA100 (men’s), and U-16s (open).

Growth of sports

Commenting on the padel tour, Ahmed Abdelaal, Group Chief Executive Officer, Mashreq, said: “The Mashreq Padel Tour 2023 is a testament to our commitment to supporting the growth and development of sports in the UAE. We are proud to be associated with the UAE Padel Association and this exciting new tournament series, which will provide a platform for amateur players to showcase their skills and compete for a substantial prize purse. From its early roots, padel tennis has become one of the most beloved, and it aligns with our diverse offerings at Mashreq.”

First place winners in each of the UAEPA10, UAEPA100, UAEPAE&E tournaments will receive AED 4,000, AED 12,000, and AED 15,000, respectively. Second-placed teams will receive AED 3,000, AED 6,000, and AED 8,000, while the third and fourth-placed teams will win AED 2,000, AED 4,000, and AED 4,000.

The UAEPA has implemented restrictions to protect the Mashreq Padel Tour’s sporting integrity and ensure competitive balance across the community-centric amateur tournaments. As a result, professional coaches, national team representatives, and professional players in the world Top-30, or players boasting a UAEPA ranking, are excluded from entering UAEPA10 tournaments.