Sports

Pádel, a Kind of Mini-Tennis With Walls, Spins Into Miami

On a beautiful Tuesday evening in North Miami-Dade at the Ives Estates Tennis Center, just off Ives Dairy Road, four men bat a ball around a wire and glass box about the size of a large backyard swimming pool. Using 18-inch paddles that look from afar like mini-tennis rackets, they smack forehands, retrieve lobs, and lunge for drop shots as Latin pop ballads play in the background. They serve underhand and, when caught out of position, defend by banking shots hard against the back wall so the ball deflects back across the net.

After a long exchange, one player -- a tanned, paunchy man with disheveled hair spilling out of a backward cap -- rushes the net. On the other side, just a few feet away, is his handsome, dark-featured opponent. The ball hangs high in the air, and the man in the backward hat reaches up and smashes a forehand volley, hard. The ball strikes the dark-featured man near the groin, and all four players burst into yelps and hollers. "You had the whole court!" shouts the dark-featured man in Spanish. "Shit!"

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Trevor Bach