Although racquet sports didn’t really take off in Madeira until the 20th Century and brought about mainly through foreign influences, sports such as Tennis, Badminton, Table Tennis, Padel and Squash have become increasingly popular, so much so that the islands football clubs and racquet sports associations have grown dramatically, with Madeira hosting a variety of national and international sporting activities.
Table Tennis: Table tennis made its debut thirty years ago, and today there are approximately 128 affiliate clubs, and over 400 players, with the most notable being Marcos Freitas who has found his form during the 2018 season and ranked No. 4 seed in September 2018.
Today the island hosts numerous table tennis competitions including the Madeira International Table Tennis Championship, which attracts players from all over the world. The Table Tennis Association was formed on the 10th of March 1988 and has the major aim of realising the talent of its players, especially young players, while providing a platform allowing them to reach the highest standards possible.
Padel Tennis: Its sort of a cross between table tennis and tennis as it is played on a court where opponents have to pass a decompressed tennis ball over a net using a solid paddle rather than a strung racquet. The game is very popular in Madeira, and there are several paddle courts located around the island.
Squash: Madeira’s first squash courts were built at the Galo Resort Hotel, which has also hosted both national and international competitions, including the Madeira International Squash Tournament for the past fifteen years and now the newly International Squash Camp Madeira. The competitions and tournaments attract players from all over the world including the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Egypt, Spain and Pakistan. With the game gaining in popularity big names such as Nick Matthews OBE (UK International Squash player) has provided further support and gamesmanship through exhibition and demonstration matches.
Badminton: The game was initially played in Madeira on the 24th of July 1924 between English and Spanish residents. However, it took until 1976 before the game gained in popularity. It later received official recognition in 1989 when members of the first Madeiran Badminton Club took part in the European Champions Cup at C.S Maritímo. Three years later the first Portuguese player, Ricardo Fernandes, represented Portugal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. Today there are several badminton clubs around the island offering coaching for both professionals and amateur players.