The announcement by Wilson Sporting Goods Company that it was entering the platform tennis market with a line of paddles and paddle accessories was made at a press conference at the U.S. Open tennis tournament.
In a separate news release, it was indicated that development of the new platform tennis paddles stemmed from the technology used in Wilson's tennis racquets. All four paddles would be constructed of molded graphite. The new models were designated Hammer 9, Hammer 8, Pro Staff 6, and Pro Staff 5. The numbers assigned to each paddle corresponded to a specific “Power Series” rating that fit a certain style of play.
Source: Platform Tennis News, Summer & Fall 1995
Separately, Wilson had acquired the Vittert V30 ball business from Hedstrom so they now could supply both balls and paddles. This development became an issue for A2Z/Viking Athletics as Wilson no longer would s[...]
In 1995, the APTA Board of Directors embarked on the most aggressive and comprehensive marketing program in its history.
The Board had started preliminary discussions with RHB Ventures to assist the APTA in the growth of the game throughout the country. RHB Ventures, a sports marketing firm based in Philadelphia and Washington D.C., had secured corporate sponsors for sports such as tennis, golf, cycling, sailing, basketball and football, and owned and managed The Champions Tour, the 35-and-over professional tennis tour featuring Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, and others.
Tapping the extensive marketing expertise of RHB Ventures, the APTA hoped to implement a multifaceted marketing program.
Among the major points of this program were:
a) sell corporate sponsorships on behalf of the APTA
b) complete a comprehensive demographic study of the current membership
The first step was implementing teleconferencing for Board meetings to make it easier for seven Directors outside of the New York Metropolitan area, historically the usual location of the meetings, to participate.
The second step was Board approval of holding the Annual Membership Meeting outside of the New York Metropolitan area for the first time in its history. The next meeting, in May 1996, would be in Baltimore, with Region III Director John Horine, as the host.
The thought behind this action was to demonstrate that the game of platform tennis has grown beyond the borders of its roots, similar to the way the National Championships were now staged in different locations each year.
Source: Platform Tennis News, Fall 1995
The Board approved a proposal to loan “seed money” of up to a maximum of $5,000.00 to a National Championships Committee for expenses prior to the receipt of entry fees and sponsorship funds.
It was anticipated that the funds would be used for the purchase of products for fundraising activities and other deposits needed to secure facilities for the event.
Snow and frigid temperatures did not daunt paddle's youngest players who traveled from all over the Tri-state area in December to compete in the APTA Junior Nationals, headquartered at the Wee Burn Country Club in Darien, CT.
Ranging in ages from 8 to 18, 60 youngsters impressively vied for titles in three categories.
With the exception of National Championship Events, where the APTA Board makes the determination as to which ball will be used, Tournament Chairs of APTA Sanctioned Events could choose any APTA-approved ball, though only one brand was to be used throughout the tournament. Any player or players substituting another ball would be disqualified.
In addition, in National Ranking and Regional Ranking tournaments, no points would be awarded to those players who are disqualified.
It was reported that, whenever possible, the choice of ball should be indicated on the tournament entry form.
Source: Platform Tennis News, Winter 1996
Following the purchase of the platform tennis business of the Marcraft Recreation Corp., the name for the platform tennis products manufactured and marketed by David Kjeldsen’s company A2Z was renamed Viking Athletics in November 1995.
In the mid 1980s he was one of the world's most dedicated couch potatoes. Then one Friday evening his sedentary existence miraculously became a thing of the past.
David Kjeldsen was invited to play mixed doubles on a small, elevated court surrounded by chicken wire. With the paddle he was given in one hand, a can of beer in the other, and a cigar between his lips, Kjeldsen was a poster child for sports enthusiasm. He got hooked on the game and started playing more and more, but it was getting expensive with a sleeve of balls costing $10.
He found out that Hedstrom, out in Ohio, was selling the Vittert balls he was using and arranged to buy case loads directly from them at a discount for distribution to friends and for use in tournaments. Hedstrom was delighted with the increase in business and offered further discounts.
Finally, Kjeldsen began thinking: "Why not set up a di[...]
Sumner “Killy” Kilmarx, one of the very first national men’s doubles platform tennis champions, died on March 2, 1996, in Scarsdale, NY. He was 96. With his long-time paddle partner, Clifford Couch, he won the first national men's tournament held at the Fox Meadow Tennis Club in 1935.
The 1935 final was one of the longer matches in National Men's play, a 4-6 , 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 9-7 victory over later champion James Hynson and Charles O'Hearn, who defeated them in the 1937 National finals. But Kilmarx and Couch were victorious again in their return finals in 1939. Kilmarx was recognized by the unusual steadiness of his play and the debonair style of his attire on the court.
He was an honorary member of Fox Meadow for many years, having contributed to the development and the popularity of the early game.
Source: Platform Tennis News, Summer 1996