Paddle Talk head-lined the finals:
To cries of "Whoa-ho, Gordo!," Russell and Gray became the First Tribuno World Paddle Champions, coming back from 4-6, 3-6 down after the first two sets to beat National Champions Steve and Chip Baird, with scores of 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 in the later sets.
Russell summed up the match afterwards, "Patience and power have given us the edge. The power is Gordon's and the patience is mine." In a season in which Gordon Gray and Doug Russell had vied with the Bairds for the top spot, it was indeed a tremendously popular victory.
Between 2,500 and 3,000 spectators were at Forest Hills to watch the semifinals, finals and pro-celebrity tournament on a cold, blustery but sunny day. Russell and Gray received a check for $4,000 and the promise of a trophy1 from Charlie Millard, Chairman of Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New York, for their victory in the climact[...]
Finding experienced umpires and linesmen was a challenge and cold weather made it worse. Paul Molloy reported on the challenges.
He wrote the following article for the May edition of the APTA newsletter Paddle Talk:
“The APTA created an arm known as the Umpires Committee approximately three years ago. Bob Brown, the APTA president, called a meeting of players interested and experienced in paddle and tennis officiating. Two of those in attendance were Paul Sullivan and myself, both members of the Eastern Tennis Umpires Association (ETUA). A committee was formed for the purpose of providing consistent and experienced officials at all APTA sanctioned and ranking tournaments. Paul Sullivan as Chairman and I as Secretary, sought out qualified Chair Umpires in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Hartford, Long Island, and the other sanctioned tournament locations.
We also recruited some ETUA me[...]
Carl S. Forsythe III sounded off in the Issues section of the May edition of Paddle Talk about a system that appeared to be creating incentives and recognition for a small group of elite teams at the expense of the broader tournament playing population.
“If the game of paddle tennis is to maintain a healthy depth and broad base of interest, a number of changes should be made next year in the manner in which the men's tournament schedule is set up.
Generally, the current procedures discourage all but the top 15 or 20 teams, to whom they accord such a position of honor that teams below this group tend to become discouraged and drop ‘off the circuit.’
This causes a lack of depth in APTA draws and is, to some extent, responsible for the regularity with which the top teams march into the 16's and quarters of the draw. In the long run it is neither in the interests of the top [...]
In early September, the APTA and Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New York announced the start of an exciting new relationship.
Discussions between Mr. Charles E. F. Millard, President and Chief Executive Officer of CCBCNY, Jack Cantwell of their advertising agency, Jack Cantwell Associates, and the APTA resulted in the agreement that covered a men's tour, the production of educational materials, and a junior development program.
Millard was a keen player and loved the game.
Source: Paddle Talk, No. 1
Paddle had special challenges for the TV producer. The chicken wire screen made it a challenge to film for one thing, and with continuous play, it was difficult to find time for slow motion replays.
To tape the Nationals at Fox Meadow, cameras were placed at two corners of court #1, on top of the screens, and on a scaffolding structure on a hill behind the court. A mobile camera completed the setup. It was also necessary to place a dark green backcloth at the end of the court.
The Nationals aired on March 28 in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
The first time that Al Steele, Executive Producer at Connecticut Public Television, and his team covered platform tennis was for the Mixed Nationals at Hartford in 1975. “Public television is always looking for new and different sports,” said Steele, “and as I'm an enthusiast myself, it was easy to decide on platform tennis. [...]