APTA experiments with court dimensions

There had been several suggestions that the length of the court (not the platform) should be increased in order to make it possible to lob more effectively over the heads of opponents and introduce a greater variety of offensive play. By lengthening the court, possibly two feet at each end, the idea was to make it easier to break up long rallies, where poor overheads and short lobs off the backstop were used. The APTA asked Fox Meadow Tennis Club and Orange Lawn Tennis Club to conduct some experiments.

Temporary lines were drawn on one court at each club, making the length of he court 48 feet instead of 44 feet, leaving 6 feet at each end past the backline. With reliable backstops, returning deep drives would not be extremely difficult.

A number of matches used the longer courts. The majority of the players preferred to leave the measurements as they were. Players felt that the longer courts placed too much of a burden on the server and made the game more tiring for older players. In addition, the extra two feet on each side did not make enough difference in lobbing to justify throwing “out of whack” the balance achieved with the existing measurements.

They believed, in general, that things were fine as they were and “why change such a good game?” In other words, most of them just did not like it, so the matter was dropped.

Source: Adapted from Fessenden S. Blanchard, Platform Paddle Tennis, 1959

“Although I believe that, if we had started with the longer measurements, they would have been accepted without complaint and the game might have been slightly better, I was pleased in another way that most of the players liked platform tennis as it was.”

Source: Fessenden S. Blanchard, Platform Paddle Tennis, 1959