The sport and the playing area are strictly linked, which is why the ongoing innovation of the playing surfaces is a cornerstone of better sports performance. Let's start with a specific example - the game of padel. The technical features of the playing surface for this sport have evolved, bringing players' performance to the maximum international levels.
Padel began in relatively recent times: it was invented in 1969 by the Mexican Enrique Corcuera. Its origins can be attributed to a calculation error; Corcuera wanted to create a tennis court but, owing to his inaccurate measurements, the court ended up including some walls already standing at the edges of the intended playing area. This court, closed in at the sides and smaller than a regular tennis court, gave Corcuera the idea for a new game and so the rules for padel were laid down.
The story of padel has its roots not only in the Latin-American tradition but also in the Iberian culture. It was a friend of Corcuera, the Spanish nobleman Alfonso Hohenloe, who promoted the new game in Spain, and had the first padel court in Spain built at his sports club in Marbella.
The World Padel Tour (WPT) is the most important professional padel circuit in the world; its hub is in Spain, where padel has become the third most popular sport.The artificial turf courts built for the competitions of this circuit fully respect the requisites defined by the Spanish Padel Federation, the most important institution in this sector.
One of the characteristics that make padel a continuously growing game, always one step ahead of the times, is precisely the choice of the competition flooring. The playing surfaces for padel have changed over the years, moving from glossy or porous cement to synthetic resins, and now artificial turf. The turf field has established itself as the ideal solution though, able to guarantee comfort and excellent sports performance.
The development of artificial turf flooring for padel games pays special attention to the biomechanical properties of the surface, and always aims to perfect the quality of play whilst respecting the safety of the players and guaranteeing first-class entertainment for the public.
Compared with other surfaces, the artificial turf court offers a better sports function in terms of the biomechanical characteristics of the surface, which enhances the players' performance by boosting safety and results. Bio-mechanics was, in fact, the starting point for the development of optimized artificial grass systems designed to favor better performance and spectacular feats during competitions, whatever the level.
When we talk about sports performance, it's necessary to distinguish between player-surface interaction on artificial turf and ball-surface interaction on artificial turf. The former is assessed by analyzing shock absorption, rotational and linear traction, and the vertical deformation of the surface during the game, to ensure a reduced risk of accidents.
Ball-surface interaction, on the other hand, refers to the vertical and angular bounce of the ball when it hits the ground.
The special morphology of the artificial turf fibers on the surface of a padel court guarantees excellent shock absorption and energy return, for optimum comfort during competitions and training sessions not to mention a regular bounce across the whole court.
Artificial grass systems for playing padel require that numerous technical functions are respected, first and foremost the durability - in other words, the maintenance of their characteristics over time. The technical function of the base is evaluated through tests carried out on the surface before laying. For example, the tear resistance of the fiber is examined and the synthetic fibers are subjected to an aging test, plus there are various water drainage checks. The tests carried out on the playing surface once it has been laid include resistance to UV rays and climatic aging actions, residual deformation and the appearance of the filler material, along with a wear simulation test.
In its production center and specialized research lab in Borja (Spain), MONDO Tufting develops the artificial turf sports surfaces used in the best centers and the most important international padel competitions.
MONDO's systems for padel courts were the first to be type-approved by the Spanish Padel Federation. Besides, MONDO is a member of the CEIP (the Commission for the Internationalisation of Padel) and the AIPP (the International Association of Padel Producers).
Since 2012, MONDO has been the Official Supplier of the artificial turf surface for the central court of the World Padel Tour, and MONDOTurf systems for padel have also been used for the central court of the World Championship (Barcelona 2012, Palma 2014, Malaga 2015). The continuous innovation underlying the creation of artificial turf courts for padel has found its tangible outlet in the development of specific surfaces, made thanks to the collaboration with the sports circuits and federations, that offer excellent sports results and top quality games.
With its artificial turf systems, MONDO is contributing to padel innovation.
Thanks to the strict collaboration with the World Padel Tour, the Spanish Padel Federation and professional players in fact, in 2016 MONDO developed a new artificial turf system that guarantees a spectacular game and the safety of the players, along with regular angular and vertical bounce all over the court. Professional players and the sports clubs finally have a surface that can sustain them during every phase of the game, ensuring excellent levels of quality and performance.
The technical efficiency of MONDO's artificial turf system has also given rise to a collaboration agreement with American company K-Swiss - a leader in the market of tennis and padel shoes that is now concentrating on the development of new footwear for playing padel on artificial turf.
The new STX Supercourt system, developed exclusively for padel, consists of a surface made of STX single-fiber characterized by an innovative morphology with a central rib and textured structure. The advantage of this special morphology lies in the minimum amount of filler needed (less than half that of a traditional court): the quartz sand penetrates between the fibers and is held there by the single fibers, spreading evenly over the surface.
The central rib acts as a fiber tensioner, optimizing the durability of the narrowest part of the fiber, whereas the reduced thickness and wider fiber diameter improve ball speed on the court.
With regards the sports function, MONDO STX Supercourt guarantees an even, regular ball bounce on the court (both angular and vertical), and the ball reaches greater speeds during play.
By its very nature, the turf field is designed to ensure the best possible balance between longitudinal and rotational traction (grip), with the maximum adherence to the surface and safe play throughout the game. And the aesthetic aspect shouldn't be underestimated either: painstaking attention to detail, and a personalized finish, to guarantee a unique identity and imprint for surfaces that see outstanding sports action.