If you don’t know much about pickleball, it’s one of the fastest-growing sports of the last five decades. It started in the ‘60s and has since made its way around the world as a sport that’s fun, easy to pick up, and a great workout!
If you combine tennis and ping pong, you get pickleball – to put it simply. It’s played on a court that’s smaller than a tennis court, using paddles that are slightly bigger than ping pong paddles.
Pickleball can be played as either singles or doubles, and is a lot easier to jump into than tennis. It’s a sport that’s become popular socially, but also competitively.
And countries all around the world have joined in the fun.
So in no particular order (well, except for the first few countries on this list), here are 20 countries where pickleball is a popular sport!
Fun fact: pickleball started in Bainbridge Island(see also: Where Is Pickleball Island?) (by three dads, of all people, who just wanted to create a fun game for their kids!). So the USA is where pickleball was first invented. For that reason, it’s also the country where pickleball is most popular.
The USA is home to the U.S. Open Pickleball Championships, which isn’t just the biggest pickleball tournament in the U.S., but in the world. It’s held each April in Florida and is watched around the world.
Since pickleball is super popular in the US, it shouldn’t be hard to believe that Canada has followed in the USA’s steps. Canadians love pickleball as much as Americans, as it’s been popular there since the ‘70s!
Like the USA, Canada boasts several pickleball tournaments held each throughout the year, the most popular being the Pickleball Canada National Championship.
Australia has always been a sporty country – so it’s no surprise that pickleball has picked up there pretty quickly. It’s the home of the Australian Open, after all, one of the biggest tennis tournaments in the world!
In fact, Australia has seen one of the fastest growths in pickleball popularity. The Pickleball Australia Association started only in 2020 but has garnered over 4000 registered members since.
Like many other European countries, pickleball has boomed in France in recent years. Pickleball France, the country’s first pickleball association, was founded in 2015 – and it was because the founder played pickleball in Canada!
Since then, Pickleball France has hosted various tournaments, including the well-known French Open Pickleball Championship.
Padel is a popular racket sport in Spain (using tennis balls but played on a court that’s smaller than a tennis court), so it’s no wonder that pickleball has gained popularity in recent years.
Pickleball is relatively new in Spain, but that hasn’t stopped it from quickly growing in popularity. Spain hosts pickleball tours for tourists, and even has a pickleball association, Pickleball Spain.
Pickleball has grown in popularity in India since 2008, when the All India Pickleball Association was founded to manage pickleball tournaments while promoting the sport around the country.
Now, pickleball is played in 16 states in India with more than 3000 AIPA registered players competing in national and international tournaments.
England is one of four countries in the UK where pickleball is popular. Its pickleball association is Pickleball England, which also works with Wales, Scotland, and Northern Island to promote pickleball across the UK.
Still, pickleball is most popular in England! The largest pickleball competition there is the Pickleball England English Open.
Scotland comes after England as the country where pickleball is most popular in the UK. Pickleball Scotland, its official pickleball association, was founded in 2018, and has since held various national tournaments, the biggest being the Scottish Open!
9. Northern Island
After England and Scotland, Northern Island is the next UK country where pickleball is most popular. Its official pickleball association is Pickleball NI, which is now affiliated with the International Federation of Pickleball.
There are also various pickleball clubs to find around Northern Island, including Ards Blair Mayne Pickleball Club, Lisburn Rackets Pickleball Group, Lisburn Pickaholicks, Valley Leisure Centre Pickleball Group, Lough Moss Pickleball Group, and Wallace Park Pickleball Club!
While pickleball is not as popular in Wales as it is in the rest of the UK, it’s still there. Wales is home to various pickleball clubs, including North Wales Pickleball and Cwmbran Celts Pickleball Club.
It’s also played for fun in other parts of the country, despite the lack of a competitive scene.
Lots of people play pickleball in Italy, so you’ll feel right at home if you plan on heading there with your paddle. It’s played socially and professionally, especially in Rome, with many competitive pickleball events held each year by its official national governing body for pickleball, Associazione Italiana Pickleball.
Currently, the biggest pickleball tournament in Italy is the Italian Open Pickleball Championships, held annually.
Pickleball appeared in Singapore in the ‘90s, but didn’t gain traction until more people started playing it around the start of 2020. Despite that, Singapore’s official governing body for pickleball, the Singapore Pickleball Association, started way back in 1995!
The Singapore Pickleball Association promotes pickleball nationwide and has also hosted several national pickleball tournaments.
The Netherlands is another European country where pickleball has gained popularity as a sport, especially in Amsterdam and Almere!
Pickleball Holland, the official pickleball association in the Netherlands, started in 2013 and has since promoted pickleball all around the country.
The biggest pickleball tournament in the Netherlands is the Dutch Open Pickleball, held annually.
14. New Zealand
That’s right, pickleball has even reached New Zealand – which could be due to its popularity in Australia! Over the last few years, the Pickleball New Zealand Association has promoted pickleball up and down New Zealand as a fun social sport, as well as hosted various pickleball tournaments each year.
There have been several pickleball tournaments in Poland, so it’s fair to say that pickleball has also seen a growth in popularity in this country! One of these tournaments was the Polish Open, held in Pszczyna.
Polski Pickleball is the official pickleball association in Poland, which has promoted pickleball in communities across Poland. It’s also working towards hosting the first-ever Polish Indoor Championships.
Like most of the other countries on this list, Denmark also has its own pickleball association, Pickleball Denmark, which is a member of the International Federation of Pickleball.
Pickleball Denmark promotes pickleball around the country, and even organizes various pickleball events.
Some of these events include Pickle Forårs Festival in Blovstrødhallen and the Copenhagen Open in Hafnia-hallen, Copenhagen.
While Belgium doesn’t yet have an official pickleball association, it does have its own popular pickleball club, Belgian Pickleball Club, with various clubs and locations to play pickleball. And the number of Belgians playing pickleball is increasing!
Some of these clubs and locations include Wallonia, Flemish Brabant, Brussels, Pickleball Tervuren, Tournai, Namur, Arlon, Rochefort, and Limburg.
Belgian Pickleball also hosted a pickleball festival in 2022, which brought together Belgian pickleball players from all over the country.
18. South Africa
Even South Africa has seen a growth in pickleball popularity, which led to the formation of Pickleball South Africa – the official governing body of pickleball in South Africa that’s also a recognized member of the International Federation of Pickleball.
And thanks to Pickleball South Africa, more and more South Africans are discovering what pickleball is all about. Pickleball South Africa has many members who play for fun as well as competitively in sanctioned tournaments.
Pickleball Finland, the main promoter of pickleball in Finland, brought the sport to the country in 2014. Pickleball has become increasingly popular in Finland ever since, with people playing socially and competitively around the country.
The first pickleball tournament in Finland was organized and hosted by Pickleball Finland in 2015, and was called the Pickleball Finnish Open. Since then, Pickleball Finland has hosted many more pickleball tournaments with more set to come!
20. Costa Rica
Last but not least: Costa Rica. Costa Rica has its own ambassador club for pickleball, called Pickleball Costa Rica, and even offers pickleball vacations for tourists who want to play pickleball and tour popular pickleball locations in the country.
There are also pickleball tournaments to join in Costa Rica if you want to play pickleball somewhere exotic!
And that wraps up our list of 20 countries where pickleball (see also: The Ultimate List Of Pickleball Team Names)is a popular sport or is growing in popularity.
These are just 20 countries where pickleball is played, but there are definitely more countries around the world where people are joining in the fun of pickleball, both socially and competitively.
If you’re looking to dive into the world of pickleball, you wouldn’t be the only one. Pickleball might be relatively new but it’s quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing sports of the last (see also: How Long Do Pickleballs Last?)few decades.
So get involved – it’s fun, easy to start, and a good way to get active!