What’s in a name? Platform Tennis, Paddle Tennis are they the same?

In 1974, several letters to the editor of The New York Times surfaced about the name confusion between platform tennis and paddle tennis.

Burling Lowrey of Washington, D.C., and Dick Squires exchanged pecks as proponents for their respective games. The exchange, however, was broader in scope than just the name conflict.

The Mid-Summer edition of the APTA newsletter, Off The Wire, had this to say:

It is not the intent of the APTA to enter the crossfire, but simply to set the record straight for our readers who may have read one or both of the letters, because both gentlemen are guilty of errors of fact.

Mr. Lowrey referred to the invention of platform tennis by a “group of Scarsdale millionaires,” one of the standard forms of jabs at platform tennis’ supposed snobbishness. In fact, neither Blanchard nor Cogswell were millionaires. Far from attempting to foster an aura of snobbery, the APTA was doing more each year to balance the game.

Mr. Squires, in turn, stated, “the fault lies with the purist platform tennis players as well as the present officials of the APTA. They insist on calling platform tennis paddle tennis, but mainly out of habit rather than any insidious desire to obliterate paddle tennis.” As regards to the public, it is probably true that it will be a long time before typical platform tennis players can be swayed from the conversationally- easy “let’s go play some paddle.” Regarding the APTA, however, all possible stress has been placed on the correct term platform tennis. In responding to telephone calls and written inquiries, and in promotional efforts such as last December’s press luncheon, in interviews and in editing drafts of articles about the game, all APTA officers strive for factual accuracy. Unfortunately, we are not always given the opportunity to review every item about platform tennis, hence the perpetuation of the erroneous name. Some people have suggested that we call our game “screen tennis” or “wire tennis” or “rebound tennis” among other names. What do you think? If you have an opinion on the subject, let us hear from you.

Source: Off The Wire, Vol. 5, Mid-Summer 1974