After an absence of 12 years, the Honor Awards program of the APTA was brought back at the urging of APTA President Chuck Vasoll.
The award provided recognition to those men and women who had contributed in an exemplary manner to the game of platform tennis. The last awards had been presented, in 1979, to Peggy Stanton and Eldridge Birmingham. Since the inception of the award in 1965, 24 men and 9 women had been honored.
Robert Brown accepted the appointment by APTA President Charles Vasoll to be Chairman of the Honor Awards Committee.
Source: Platform Tennis News, Winter 1991
The following lament had been heard all too often, this time emanating from Weezie Lambert in Princeton:
“The ‘official’ ball is a round puff which self destructs after one set or less, growing shaggy and virtually falling apart. Who has a new variation? Where is the competition? Everyone in league play is fed up with spending more per ball, knowing it may be lopsided to start. Wish I had a solution. Does someone out there?”
Both manufacturers and the APTA had been working on the problem. The association had contracted with the United States Testing Company to assess a sample of balls from three different manufactures to see if they met the specifications published in Appendix A of the Official Rules of Platform Tennis.
One of the three balls tested was the then approved Vittert V-30 ball, which was found to conform to the APTA standards and tolerances. The other two ba[...]
The Board of Directors of the APTA voted to initiate a program that would recognize the winners and finalists in all championship tournaments with the presentation of APTA Championship medals. The first presentations were made to the 1991 winners. The medals were designed with the assistance of the prestigious firm of Josten's Inc., the supplier of many kinds of recognition jewelry, including the Super Bowl rings for the National Football League.
Champions would be presented with gold medals with green and gold ribbon, while the finalists would take home a silver medal with green and white ribbon. The presentations were to take place at all 17 doubles competitions, including the three ages of Juniors and the Singles event.
Source: Platform Tennis News, Winter 1991
The 1991 Women’s President’s Cup was taken by Region I by a landslide. They received the coveted trophy in dinner ceremonies at the Merion Cricket Club.
On the men’s side, the local Region's team was going for its fifth straight men's President's Cup win on its home courts in Philadelphia. They prevailed with 57 points. Region V came in a close second with 54 points, followed by Region I with 52.
The competition was very close. Region III had to take six tie-breakers in the last three matches against Region I foes in order to clinch the victory. And they did.
Source Platform Tennis News, Spring 1991
The Men's and Women's Nationals were covered in PTN Spring 1991:
The National Championship field included 96 men's and 64 women’s teams, showcasing the top-ranked professional and amateur players from the U.S. and Canada.
Due to the size of the field, the matches were played at several different sites. Aronimink Golf Club and Waynesborough Country Club hosted the National Championships. Overbrook Golf Club and Whitford Country Club hosted the Women's and Men's President's Cup play.
In the women's event, defending champions Gerri Viant/Sue Aery just couldn't match the firepower of Connecticut's Robin Fulton/Diane Tucker, and succumbed in a tightly-contested straight-set final (6-4, 6-3). The men's event featured an upset-in-the-making for one set, before eight-time Nationals men's champions Rich Maier and Steve Baird turned on the afterburners to overcome a 6-2 first-s[...]
Pete Mathews posed the global warming question based on his observations over time, and questioned ball specifications His comments appeared in the Spring 1991 edition of Platform Tennis News.
“Has ‘Global Warming’ really begun to affect the climate? I'm no expert, but I've noticed one thing for sure. Paddle seems to be played under much warmer conditions than I seem to remember in years past. How many photographs in PTN do you see where the pictured players are in either shorts or short sleeves? Furthermore, with the Nationals played later and later in March, the likelihood for warm conditions is greatly heightened for what is the culmination of our season and the supreme test of the game as played today.
Well here's the real issue for discussion. The current V-30 ball produced by Vittert (and the only ball sanctioned for tournament play) has evolved a good bit over the past[...]
The APTA BOD reinstated the Honors Award which would be awarded at National Championships.The first awards under this program took place in 1992.
A "NO FOOT-FAULT" sign had been developed for use at clubs and a proposal was made to let the receiving team call a let instead of taking the point.
There was an extended discussion on balls and ball testing and on the presentation by Rich Maier about the ARD ball at the annual meeting
Advanced Recreation Design (ARD) introduced a new platform tennis ball to the sport during the 1991-1992 season, after a significant amount of research and development. Carly Swain explained the journey:
“One of the main points concerns the APTA specifications for approved baIls. Those specs include such factors as weight, diameter and rebound or bounce, with acceptable tolerances dictated for each measure. But the specifications do not take into account other factors, such as durability, playability, and color retention. Nor do they address the question of quality control in terms of how many balls are tested to meet the specifications.
(Note: The APTA's rules and equipment committee had struggled with the tactical aspects of inspecting balls for some time. There were questions about how many balls to test, how to acquire the balls and where they come from, and who paid for the[...]
G.A.I. Partners had acquired Hedstrom, the manufacturer of the Vittert ball, and the new corporate leader was a platform tennis enthusiast. The new owners had given Hedstrom the funds to provide the innovative leadership the game has requested to enhance ball performance. They hired new technical talent, implemented new manufacturing methods, and started a statistical process control and continuous improvement program. The main thrust of Vittert's efforts was on improving the physical aspects, as the balls had been lopsided, were losing their flocking, and worst of all, wearing out very quickly.
Besides the composition of the ball itself, there were other contributing factors. Court surfaces had become more “severe,” as new methods were introduced to keep them rough. Screens, especially the newer and tighter ones, took a toll. Plus players were learning to use more “English” o[...]