US Ambassador to Poland, Walter Stoessel, imports Platform Tennis to Warsaw

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Walter J Stoessel, Jr. (1/24/1920-12/9/1986)

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Letter to Paul Molloy from Walter Stoessel

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Left to right: Walter Jenkins (Deputy Chief of Mission), Walter Stossel, Mrs Stoessel, Edward Harper (Embassy Press Attaché)

Ambassador Walter Stoessel, a keen player and lover of the game, introduced the game to Warsaw when he was appointed US Ambassador there in 1968.

They had been initiated in the game at the Chevy Chase Club in Washington, D.C. and while they were far from expert they loved the game and thought it would be ideal in the long Polish winters.

Using plans Supplied by APTA, they built a wooden court at the American Embassy in Warsaw. It worked, although it was quite a hybrid. The wood was obtained locally, the wire came from West Germany, and the lights were regular Warsaw street lights.

The game caught on rapidly and was played enthusiastically by members of the American community in Warsaw and their friends in the foreign community.

In 1970 he sent a letter to Paul Molloy, APTA President, enclosing a picture taken on February 20, 1970 before the inaugural game on the Warsaw Embassy Platform Tennis court.

Some years later (1974) when he moved to Moscow he had a court constructed there and annual contests between the two Embassies ensued.

Source: Paddle World, Vol 1 No 2 Mid-Winter 1976