Zevnik took Vasoll’s accomplishments one step further and developed the successful collaboration with the Lineal Group for their Grand Prix competitions.
He broke the barrier of 3,000 in individual memberships, and turned Platform Tennis News and PTN Update into periodicals anxiously anticipated by all members.
The Board Meeting had an extensive discussion on balls and developing a policy for use of balls in National Championships and Ranking Tournaments.
Hedstrom had made a proposal to the APTA regarding the growth and development of the game. The proposal generated quite a discussion as summarized in the Minutes:
"Each Director was asked to comment on the proposal. Comments were: money (Passport) destroyed the camaraderie of the game; TV coverage doesn't work; not enthusiastic about playing indoors; against paying a few top professionals; questioned ability to obtain sponsorship; concept of proposal was good, but it lacked substance. Alternate suggestions were: pay travel expenses for President's Cup players; pay top professionals to hold clinics around the country; sponsor Pro-Am events in several regions; Seniors tour; target a program for B level players; Juniors clinics; and, target[...]
APTA joined with the owners of Hedstrom Corp., the makers of the Vittert balls, and Lineal Group, Inc. to form the Lineal Group Grand Prix Series.
Platform Tennis News had the details:
“Combined with sponsors like Romana Sambuca and Prince, and guided by a professional sports marketing organization, the goal is to expand the horizons and fuel the growth of the game of platform. That's quite a mouthful. And it's quite an undertaking. It will require quite a lot of support from platform players across the country. But the potential payback will be well worth it. The goal: more enthusiasm, more excitement, more crowds, more players enjoying a great sport.
The vehicle: a series of three qualifying tournaments and a grand finale, all spiced by prize money awarded to the top teams. The money lends an air of excitement and competition, and will hopefully bring out the best players.[...]
The first two of the four tournament series were in Philadelphia, PA, and Greenwich, CT, and aroused lots of interest. Platform Tennis News carried the story.
“For a new idea, the four-tournament, prize money Lineal Group Grand Prix series seems to have caught on awfully fast. The first two tournaments, Philadelphia and Greenwich Invitationals, aroused lots of interest and sparked extremely competitive draws. Even more importantly, the game of platform received added exposure and publicity to both the general sports public and paddle aficionados at various clubs in the tournament areas. Posters were plastered everywhere, flyers were distributed, ads were placed in local newspapers. Top men's players put on exhibitions on both Friday nights before the weekend draws; and top women players did likewise with youth clinics on Saturday.
In fact, the Greenwich exhibition featured Detro[...]
Twenty-seven club Chairmen from as far as Wyoming attended the program hosted by R.J. Reilly Platform Tennis Courts at Fox Meadow Tennis Club.
Platform Tennis News covered the day’s proceedings.
“Early in October, a dedicated and enthusiastic group of twenty-seven club chairmen came together from as far away as Wyoming and as close as the Fox Meadow Tennis Club, which donated its facilities for the event to its host, the R.J. Reilly Platform Tennis Courts.
They gathered to learn from one another and from expert discussion leaders about improving their programs. Kicking off the day's activities, the attendees heard from Bob Callaway who pioneered a commercial paddle center in Norwalk, Connecticut almost two decades ago and Dick Reilly, an APTA honor award recipient and builder of courts, who sponsored the event.
Greg Moore and Buddy Scudder led a discussion group coveri[...]
Art Houilhan’s enthusiastic public relations campaign for the Grizzly Affair drew players from neighboring states and Canada. The tournament also officially introduced Reilly's latest innovation: The Lawn Level Court.
The concept of the new court was to make it more attractive so it will fit appealingly into any setting. By excavating below the court for the pier and heater installation, the need to install the court three to four feet above ground on concrete piers would be eliminated. The court therefore sat at grade level, making it much easier to watch play.
Platform Tennis News covered the event in detail:
“In its constant quest to expand, the APTA can now add Montana to its list of states that host tournaments. Without a platform tradition, most Montana residents had no idea what platform tennis was. Thankfully the Grizzly Affair tournament's enthusiastic public rela[...]
In the days preceding each year's men's and women's (and now mixed) National Championships, hardy bands of competitors from each region of our country collide in cataclysmic contests (how's that for alliteration and exaggeration?) to determine who takes home the gold (only figuratively) from the annual Presidents' Cup challenges.
Each Region develops its own method for selecting tearns, some calculating individual points, some demanding team scores. All you have to do to be eligible is pick up a copy of the Tournament Schedule, find out which events in your region carry PC points, and then rack 'em up.
As evidenced by the pictures on this page, the Presidents' Cup is unequaled for both competition and fun . So start early in the season, and let the games begin.
Source: Platform Tennis News, Fall 1992
Dick Squires was one of the great promotors of the game who helped take the game on a growth spurt never seen before or since.
“Mr. Paddle” wrote about the game, published books on the game, produced instruction films about the game, built courts, endorsed attire, conducted clinics and dreamt up and found sponsors for an exciting new tournament that CBS Sports televised for its "Sports Spectacular" show. He also opened the first commercial platform tennis facility on a roof-top in New York City.
Despite moving the tournament from December to October to ensure better weather, the event was still plagued by rain. But, Detroit still fielded one of the strongest draws, with players battling for a piece of the $5,000 prize money.
In the end, nothing mattered to the 32 men's teams and 16 women's duos that congregated from Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Connecticut, Indianapolis, Kalamazoo, New Jersey, and all points east and west. Their paddle was competitive and the hospitality was extraordinary. Frank Willard and his organizers proved that the Detroit area was fully capable of handling a major aggregation, which they would do again in spring of 1995 when the men's and women's National Championships were contested in that area.
Source: Platform Tennis News, Mid-Winter 1993
Just who was this Lineal Group sponsoring organization? They were part of Ditri Associates, Inc. who also owned Hedstrom Corporation the manufacturers of the Vittert paddle ball
The Lineal Group was a leading manufacturer of casual, storable, and commercial furniture. Lineal included Samsonite Furniture Company, Halcyon, Harbour Towne, Pacific Rattan, Fort Smith, Tradewinds and Molla. Lineal was also the largest U.S. manufacturer of folding tables and chairs, and marketed these products under the Samsonite name.