By 1970, there were an estimated 150,000 people playing platform tennis. Based on a survey of court builders and ball and racquet manufacturers, the growth during the next five years ranged from 15 to 25 percent per year.
With growing interest, the number of tournaments sanctioned by the APTA increased dramatically.
In 1969, there were 25 listed tournaments, but a decade later, the APTA offered more than one hundred events.
The 1970's Nationals were the largest draws in history, with 128 men's teams and 72 in the women’s.
Gordon Gray and Jesse Sammis III won their second consecutive title over the rising team of Bob Kingsbury and John Mangan.
Charlotte Lee and Peggy Stanton won their fourth straight title.
John Mangan sweetened his loss in the Men's by partnering with Susie Harris to beat the previous year’s champions, Charlotte Lee and Bradley Drowne.
Dick Hebard and Zan Carver defeated the previous year’s champions, Tad Bowen and Sidney Sweet, Jr. in the 50+ (Hebard had won the event in 1965 with Sweet). John Cookman and Mansfield Sprague won the Men’s 60+ (also called the Veteran’s).
In September 1970, the second APTA Paddle Newsletter printed the draw sheets and results - see link above.
Source: The APTA Paddle Newsletter, September 1970
Ambassador Walter Stoessel, Jr. reported that paddle was of to a good start in Warsaw.
c/o The American Consulate Gen.,
APO New York, N.Y. 09757,
May 18, 1970.
Dear Mr. Thistle:
Thank you for sending me, under cover of your letter of April 20, a copy of the APTA Newsletter. We will look forward to receiving subsequent copies. We found particularly enjoyable the article on paddle tennis from the American Airlines magazine. –
Our paddle tennis season ended this month in Warsaw with a tournament and banquet where trophies were distributed. The tournament was held over the weekend of May 9-10, with good finals games in all categories: Women's Doubles, Mixed Doubles, Men's Doubles, and Scrambles. We had originally planned to have the finals the previous weekend, but a snowfall on May 2 interfered!
The paddle tennis banquet was held May 1) in the American Club at the Embass[...]
The minutes of the November 5th meeting reported on:
(a) the efforts to grow the game
(b) the inaugural National Senior Women’s tournament to be held in 1971
(c) the introduction of tiebreakers
(d) a focus on regional events
The Treasurer’s report showed income of $6442.42, a Net Loss for the year of $192, and a Net Worth of $9,692.67.
Elfie Carroll, a New York State tennis champion in singles and doubles, won three National Women’s (1950, 1955 and 1958) and four straight Mixed (1949-1952) with her husband, a record that stood until 1982 when it was tied by Hilary Hilton Marold and Doug Russell. Her Women’s wins in 1955 and 1958 were all the more remarkable since she and her husband moved to eastern Long Island in 1952 where she had few opportunities to play. (Seminole Club, Forest Hills, NY).
Alexander (Zan) H. Carver, Jr. played on the amateur tennis circuit and was ranked as high as number eleven in 1944. He won the Men’s Nationals three straight times (1961-1963), the Mixed nationals in 1964 and the Men’s 45+ in 1963 and the Men’s 50+ in 1970. He was skilled at the half-volley and brought the center court theory of tennis doubles to the game. (Fox Meadow Tennis Club).
Mary A. (Maizie) Moore was pa[...]
Kim Kimberly and Tad Bowen installed the new aluminum decks pioneered by Richard Reilly of R. J. Reilly, Inc. that were the first installations of what has become the modern standard. They were built in the Wilton & New Canaan, CT area.
Richard J. Reilly, Jr. had been building wooden courts since the mid 1960’s and had made numerous innovations over time. But, it was Wilson Sporting Goods that ultimately gave Reilly his best idea.
Wilson had come out with a metal tennis racquet and their major rival, Head, was anxious to catch up and had some consultants working on an aluminum racquet as a competitive response. It so happened that Reilly had built a wooden court for Peter Fisher in Katonah, NY and Fisher suggested he visit George Vaughn and Dick Hargrave who, along with an engineer with a PhD in the aluminum field, were the principal consultants for Head. This Princeton, NJ based team helped Reilly develop all the technology (specifications, extrusion dyes and techniques), required to manufacture an aluminum deck.
As a woodworking purist, he hated the idea of using aluminum, but saw it as providing the longevit[...]
The 1971 Nationals included the inaugural Women’s 50+.
The men had a 128 team draw, and the final was a repeat of the previous years. This win made it a hat-trick for Gray and Sammis, the second hat-trick in the game’s history (Hebard and Carver had won in 1961-1963).
The new and up and coming team of Gloria Dillenbeck and B.J. DeBree won their first title, defeating the winners of the last four events, Charlotte Lee and Peggy Stanton.
Tad Bowen and Sidney Sweet, Jr. repeated as finalists in the Men’s 50+, losing to Robert Baldwin and George Schmid. William Miller and Gregory Prince won the Men’s 60+, while Charlotte Lee and partner Clair Hesseltine won the inaugural Women’s 50+.
In the Junior’s, Charles (Chip) Baird Jr. won his third straight and future Hall of Fame member, Rich Maier, was a finalist.
Source: The APTA Paddle Newsletter, Vol. 2, No.[...]
The February APTA Paddle Newsletter discussed the issue of handling the large draws:
“As the Men’s Doubles grows, the APTA is faced with the problem of the strain of the tournament on the host club, particularly in that the tourney is held over two weekends. Of concern also is that players from out of town who are defeated on the first weekend must return the following weekend to see the semi-finals and finals. There is also the distinct possibility of having to have a larger draw than 128 teams. Accordingly, the 3 following alternatives are being considered:
1. Confine the tournament to one weekend by having competition begin on Friday, and have a maximum draw of 128 teams. If necessary, hold regional qualifying rounds on the prior weekend to maintain a final draw of 128 teams.
2. Hold regional tournaments for places in a final draw of 64 teams and hold the
64 team tournam[...]