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Which Countries is Pickleball Played In?

Mixed ethnic group of women playing pickleball outdoors.

The latest sports craze in the US, pickleball, is played by 4.8 million Americans. And the number is growing. But is pickleball a strictly American phenomenon, or are there other countries where the game is played?

The answer is simple. Pickleball is played in 63 countries worldwide. That’s how many countries are members of the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP).

And IFP member countries come from every continent. Since its whimsical invention in a sleepy Washington state backyard in 1965, pickleball has gone global. Let’s take a look at some of the countries where the game is played.

Of the IFP’s 63 member countries, 7 are considered “Full Members.” These are Canada, Spain, India, Philippines, Mexico and the Czech Republic. Though this doesn’t necessarily mean these are the countries where the game is most popular, it’s a pretty good sign that players there are enthusiastic.

Also, that the numbers of players in these countries are growing fast. In the countries where pickleball is hot right now and getting hotter by the day, growth is driven by several things. International travel is one.

When pickleball players vacation, they’re thrilled to find pickleball courts and equipment in their destinations. So it makes sense that countries that want to attract tourists would climb aboard the pickleball train. Also, countries where racquet and paddle sports are already popular are natural converts to the pickleball craze.

This is the case in several Asian countries, where many people have played badminton and ping pong for years. And proximity to the US, and especially Washington state, where pickleball was invented in 1965, is another factor that seems to influence the game’s popularity. Canadians were the first to start playing outside the US.

Pickleball started getting popular in Canada in the 1970s.


Waving Canada flag against cloudy sky.

Pickleball is so popular in Canada that they even have a National Pickleball Day! More importantly, they have lots of pickleball tournaments. The Canadian National Championship, which is open to Canadian residents only, is the best known.

But Canada also has the Canadian Open Championship, which allows competitors from around the world to participate.

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Spain flag on a pole.

Spain loves racquet and paddle sports, including tennis and Padel (platform tennis). So pickleball was a natural fit. Now the country has pickleball associations and tournaments galore.

Spain stands out especially for how well it treats its visiting pickleball players. Viva Spain Pickleball Tours is one example of companies so dedicated to courting pickleball players from abroad that it even has foreign-dwelling ambassadors.


India flag on sunset.

Will pickleball overtake cricket as India’s favorite sport? Only time will tell. The All India Pickleball Association, founded in 2008, recently hosted the first Women’s Pickleball Cup in Bangalore.

The man who started the association, Sunil Valavalkar, also helped found the IFP. Like many countries, India has seen its greatest growth in pickleball enthusiasts since 2020.


Philippine flag with cloudy sky background.

Pickleball is really taking off in the Philippines and, according to the Manila Standard, it’s all thanks to one person: Shana Upperman, the founder of Pickleball Philippines. Shana, a resident of Tennessee, made it her personal mission to bring pickleball to the country in 2016. She recruited a few other Americans to hold an event to teach the sport in Barangay Subangdaku, Mandaue, Cebu.

The event was a great success, launching a wave of teaching the sport in schools and universities across the Philippines.


A Mexico flag waving in the wind.

Rumor has it pickleball was smuggled into Mexico by American expats – of which there are 1.5 million in the country. But the sports popularity extends way beyond former Americans. The country even holds a national pickleball tournament.

Czech Republic

Czech Republic flag floating on a pole outside.

Pickleball made its official debut in the Czech Republic in 2014. The Christian International School of Prague (CISP) started the first pickleball club in the country that year. Two women are credited with bringing the game to the Czech Republic.

Teacher and counselor Jodi Oppenhuizen reportedly learned to play pickleball in Michigan. She then brought donated equipment to the CISP, where she worked, and started to teach others. Meanwhile a Czech woman named Lenka Misickova learned the sport from pickleball champion John Vicek.

In 2015, Lenka sought Jodi out and the two joined forces to spread pickleball across the country.