A Comparison of Match Load Between Padel and Singles and Doubles Tennis

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Cameron Armstrong School of Human Sciences (Exercise and Sport Science), The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia
Tennis Australia, Melbourne, Australia

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5438-1561
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Machar Reid School of Human Sciences (Exercise and Sport Science), The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia
Tennis Australia, Melbourne, Australia

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7196-3731
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Callum Beale Tennis Australia, Melbourne, Australia

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Olivier Girard School of Human Sciences (Exercise and Sport Science), The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA, Australia

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4797-182X *
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Purpose: To quantify match load associated with padel and compare responses with both singles and doubles tennis. Methods: On separate days, 12 participants (7 men and 5 women) played 60-minute padel (PADEL), singles tennis (SINGLES), and doubles tennis (DOUBLES) simulated games. Participants wore a 10-Hz GPS/100-Hz triaxial accelerometer unit and heart-rate monitor. Exercise-related sensations and blood lactate concentration were monitored every 20 minutes. Match-play characteristics (temporal structure) and shot selection were derived from video analysis. Vertical jump ability was assessed before and after each game. Results: Heart rate, exercise-related sensations (overall perceived exertion and limb discomfort), and physical load (total distance covered, PlayerLoad, acceleration density and load) for SINGLES were higher compared with DOUBLES and PADEL (all P ≤ .05). Blood lactate concentrations remained low (1–2 mmol·L−1) and did not differ between conditions. Effective playing time (P < .001) was lower in SINGLES and DOUBLES compared with PADEL. The number of forehands (P = .002) and backhands (P < .001) was greater for SINGLES than for DOUBLES and PADEL. The number of volleys/smashes and lobs (P < .05) was greater for PADEL compared with SINGLES and DOUBLES. Performance for squat, countermovement, and multirebound jumps was similarly reduced below baseline after match play (P < .05), independent of condition. Conclusion: Padel imposes a unique match load on players that is different from singles tennis and more closely resembles that of doubles tennis. Cardiovascular stimulation and physical load are highest in singles tennis, while padel sees players hit a larger variety of shots with higher effective playing percentages.

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