A sports craze which is hugely popular in resorts such as Tenerife and Lanzarote, and mainland Spain, has found a surprise following in the west coast of Scotland.

While we may have to do without the palm trees and sunnier climes, there is the rare and unique opportunity to play indoor padel tennis at Stevenston Industrial Estate - the only indoor centre of its kind in Scotland.

From Costa Del Sol in Spain to Costa Del Stevenston in Ayrshire - it is a special welcome to the wizards of padel who will be arriving in North Ayrshire on Friday for the start of a three day UK tour event.

The former ICI site which was famous for making dynamite is now the unlikely location for the explosive new sport.

It is fast and furious.

Padel is an off-shoot of tennis which is barely known about outwith the district, and is a racquet spot which has the same scoring system, tennis ball, net, and doubles style of games.

However, there are a number of significant differences including walls of toughened glass surrounding the court which allow for extended rallies as the ball is allowed to bounce off the back wall. 

The shorter and stubbier racquets are more familiar with swing-ball from your back garden but it is an easier game to pick up than tennis in many respects and players can expect to reach a decent level within a number of months of regular play producing exciting and entertaining games.

But the game is far from child's play and has attracted all ages from 8 to 80, and has even resulted in two padel aces finding international romance on court with Mercedes Perez, a Spanish veterinary surgeon who works in East Kilbride, and local man Stewart Alexander. 

They will be one of the mixed doubles pairs featuring this weekend.

The Gold UK Padel Tour will attract top padel players from all over the UK including Jamie Murray's coaching guru Alan MacDonald.

West Kilbride man John Byrne, who is ranked number one in the local area, is one of the local players hoping to enjoy a good tournament when rubbing shoulders with the racquet kings of the sport.

The West of Scotland Padel Centre is the brainchild of local businessman David McCulloch who was on holiday in Spain and got hooked on the sport, and decided to bring the state of the art facility to Scotland.

It is also an exciting spectator sport, and is building up a growing following in South America where new stadiums are getting built, Africa where an African Nations Padel Cup is being launched, and now in the unlikely setting of Stevenston!

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