spanish tennis

Row over plans to use ancient Spanish amphitheatre as tennis court

In Mérida’s roman amphitheatre, built about 8BC, one cannot smoke or wear a rucksack larger than 40cm.

But in early May, the Unesco world heritage site will be transformed into a padel tennis court, hosting competitors during the World Padel Tour as they volley balls at each other at breakneck speeds. The goal is to combine padel tennis, one of Spain’s most popular outdoor sports, with the rich roman history of Mérida,in the Spanish region of Extremadura. But the idea has provoked widespread opposition.

Nearly 100,000 people have signed an online petition attacking the idea. Authorities insist the project poses no risk to the monument, said Joaquin Paredes, the creator of the petition. “How can it be that the transfer and installation of courts and bleachers as well as allowing access to thousands of people won’t have any effect on a monument that’s more than 2,000 years old?” Read more.