Bradley Drowne: Bradley Drowne served as the National Tournament director for the APTA for many years and pioneered the rankings system employed today. He was “Mr. Steady” as a player and won the National Men’s in 1968, the Mixed in 1969 and 1974, and his first Men’s 45+ in 1973 over Baird and Lankenau.
Hank Irvine: Hank Irvine was a player who changed the game and was always exciting to watch. His shot-making and control of the ball set new standards, and he had great hands and ease of stroke, coupled with economy of body movement and consistency. He started playing and teaching the game in 1973, when he became head pro at the Short Hills Club after immigrating from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). By 1997, he had won his first National Men’s with Herb Fitz Gibbon; they repeated the following year. Six years later, he again won back-to-back Men’s nationals in 1986 and 1987. In th[...]
The Board had a busy agenda.
Paddle manufacturers A2Z (Kjeldsen's company had acquired the assets of Marcraft), Wilson and The Paddle Co. were producing paddles for the upcoming season and these included a few prototypes which prompted some tweaking to paddle specifications as cited in the Minutes:
"a. approved a change to paddle length, so total length does not exceed 18"
b. eliminated the handle length/play length specification
c. retained 87 as the maximum number of holes
d. retained 3/8" as the hole diameter
e. approved a change to the rim, so the rim may be flush or wrap around within limits noted in revision documentation (attached)
f. retained surface finish as "slight texturing" subject to further research (Bob and Charley will attempt to further define "slight texturing" using the sandpaper grit scale as a standard reference by 6-1-95)
g. retained surface as fl[...]
There was a new/old “player” in the manufacturing ranks of the platform world. A2Z, headed by President David Kjeldsen, had transformed itself from Marcraft 's largest retail distributor into a manufacturer/wholesaler of platform equipment, by purchasing the assets of Marcraft Recreation Corporation’s domestic platform tennis division in April 1995.
At the time Marcraft was just a paddle manufacturer. They had been a ball manufacturer for a while in the 1970s (Big M yellow and red balls) but had stopped production and had become a reseller of the game's dominant ball, Hedstom's Vittert V30.
When Hedstrom sold their ball manufacturing business to Wilson - see Wilson Acquires Hedstrom Ball Business - this created an issue for A2Z (renamed Viking Athletics in 1996) as Wilson refused to allow them to continue selling the V30 ball as they were now a competitor in the paddle mark[...]
The men's final was almost anti-climactic and the women's final was a big surprise as the Lineal Group Grand Prix series of prize money tournaments ended its third season with an action-packed event at Brookside Racquet & Swim Club in Allendale, NJ.
The final on the men's side saw David Ohlmuller/Bruce Kelsey continue their late-season surge by dumping top-seeded Peter Gruenberg/Art Williams in straight sets. But it was the semi-finals that produced the fireworks with Greg Stipa and George Zink pushing Gruenberg and Williams to a third set tiebreaker, and Jim Kaufman and Scott Staniar to three sets against Ohlmuller and Kelsey.
Some people were starting to complain that women's tournaments had become too predictable, with the same teams dominating from start to finish. Jersey's Patti Hogan and Delaware's Cindy Prendergast helped squelch that attitude at Brookside by knocking off h[...]
Map of platform tennis locations in Europe as of late 1995 . Clubs may have had more than one court so this does not indicate the number of courts. The large number of courts in the Netherlands came about because R.J. Reilly worked there in the 1970s assisting a Dutch company to install about 50 courts.
[See also Paddle Hits Holland With Gloria Dillenbeck's Help
Source: R.J. Reilly Co., Brewster, NY
Treasurer Hope Kerr reported at the Board’s May meeting that the revenues of the Association for the 1994/95 fiscal year exceeded expenses by $14,815.81.
This was the best year for the Association in some time, and reflected a good increase in membership as the result of the joining en masse of several leagues.
As the result of new manufacturing techniques, the Equipment Committee, headed by former APTA President Robert A. Brown, was asked to review the APTA paddle specifications.
The Board approved a recommended change to make the total maximum length of the paddle 18", and eliminate the separate handle/play length designation.
It also approved a change in the edge (or rim) that will allow a 1/8" height wraparound of a maximum 1/2", in addition to the flush-with-face surface that was previously the only one allowed.
Source: Platform Tennis News, Summer 1995
Responding to the occasional “bad apple in the bushel,” the APTA released a statement that describes the expected conduct of competitors in its tournaments and the penalties that may be enforced against violators.
The "Code of Conduct for Platform Tennis Players" below appeared in the Tournament Schedule as “a constant reminder to participants of what is expected of them when they enter sanctioned events.”
Players shall not engage in unsportsmanlike conduct. At no time, but especially during the course of a match, shall a player engage in:
a) verbal or physical abuse of any persons connected with the game or spectators;
b) use of visible or audible profanity;
c) mistreatment of the equipment, the court or its fixtures;
d) behavior that reflects a failure to accept the decisions of officials and/or disregard for the rules and spirit of the game.
After three years of supporting the game of platform tennis, including the commitment of tens of thousands of dollars in tournament prize money and raffle drawings, the Lineal Group announced that it would no longer be able to sponsor the Lineal Group Grand Prix Series. Several executive, as well as business, changes had occurred at the company and thus it became necessary to end its successful relationship with competitive paddle tennis.
Ginna Ohlmuller, Executive Director of the APTA, commented on the development: “The Lineal Group provided a real boost to the game of paddle tennis over the last three years and they were a pleasure to work with.”
Ohlmuller made special mention of Arnie Ditri1, head of Ditri Associates, and John Balch, Lineal's senior marketing manager. “Mr. Ditri had a genuine interest in the game of paddle and committed substantial time and effort to help[...]
This was a sudden decision and likely related to the changes taking place at the Dimitri Associates' group of companies that included Hedstrom and the Lineal Group, the sponsors of the Lineal Grand Prix. This decision provided Wilson Sporting Goods with the opportunity to acquire the Vittert brand and production equipment and started promoting Championship and Cold Weather Wilson balls in early 1996.
Source: Platform Tennis News, Mid-Winter, 1996