PTN Spring 1997 covered the Men's and Women's Nationals:
With 64 women’s teams and 114 men’s teams in the tournament, the field was deep enough to carry the men’s quarterfinals into cocktail hour at the host club, Pittsburgh Field Club in Fox Chapel.
The men's semifinalists were defending champs Flip Goodspeed/Scott Mansager who defeated the third seeds, Bob Conklin/Andy Kinney, in a hair-raising three setter (3-6, 6-3, 7-5). George Zink/Greg Stipa, seeded fourth, knocked out the first-seeds Peter Gruenberg/Art Williams in an equally competitive match (6-4, 3-6, 6-4).
In the final, in a match that somewhat mirrored their melodramatic, three-set semifinals, Goodspeed/Mansager outlasted Zink/Stipa in a marathon third set that had anxious spectators' Sunday dinner-with-family on hold. Stipa and Zink had convincingly muscled past their opponents in the first set only to[...]
Pamela Macrae Bermingham grew up in Scarsdale and saw her parents play on the Cogswell court. She started playing at the Manursing Island Club in Rye, NY, and made it to the finals of the Women’s Nationals in 1958. A year later, she found herself living in Sewickley, PA, with no real chance to play.
She and her husband, Eldridge “Wooley” Bermengham, (Hall of Fame 1979), changed that and she set about teaching and promoting the game.
Her zeal and enthusiasm were instrumental in developing a vibrant paddle community, with active leagues and junior play, and formed the base for one of the” hot-spots” in the country for the game.
On a Sunday early in March, before a packed house of members and invited guests, the Fox Meadow Tennis Club in Scarsdale New York, affectionately known as the "Home of Platform Tennis," presented a historical review of the sport.
Molly Ware, daughter of one of the founders of the game, Fessenden Blanchard, and her husband, John, narrated the photographic slide presentation. Also present was Do Deland, daughter of James Cogswell, also recognized as a founder of the game.
Of most interest to the Club's members was the explanation of how the introduction of the game of platform tennis literally saved the Club from bankruptcy in 1932.
A question and answer session followed the slide presentation, with many of the Club members present adding their own recollections of the times when the game was begun and the Fox Meadow Tennis Club was the first club to have courts.
On display w[...]
One of paddle's brightest lights, hardest workers and nicest guys, Charley Stevens, who had just resigned as APTA President after a three-year term, died of cancer at the age of 63.
During his term, the change in the rules to play net cord services was a controversial step, and he led the Association during an era of new competition in equipment. The Wilson Sporting Goods Corporation entering the market with new racquets, and acquired the Vitteret platform tennis ball line from the Hedstrom Corporation, and Viking Athletics, formerly A2Z Products, rose from the ashes of its purchase of the platform tennis business of the Marcraft Corporation to become a major player.
Howard Sipe remembered, “…. he used [his] strength and competitiveness to help build a strong foundation for platform. You could fault Charley for tact, but you could never fault him for passion, especially when [...]
Each dot on the map is the five digit zip code of a customer but some have more than one court. Court costs at the time could be as much as $40,000 and most were installations at private clubs and schools.
Source: R. J. Reilly Co. Brewster NY
At the Annual Meeting in May, the Board of Directors of the APTA voted to continue the rule established at the 1996 meeting, which eliminated the let on a net cord service.
The motion agreed upon left the door open for a further review in May 1998; however, the Directors were much stronger in support of the rule change than they were when they first instituted it.
Part of the reason for their change in approach was due to the fact that tennis was also moving ahead with abolishing the let. The USTA Senior Father and Son circuit would be experimenting with the "no let" service on a trial basis in its 1997 national championships, and the men's and women's senior divisions of the U.S. Open instituted the change in 1996. The APTA Board was not as "far out" in making this change as some players thought.
Source: Platform Tennis News, Summer 1997
“Give us more” was the general opinion of the first platform tennis clinic conducted for teaching professionals by Wilson Sporting Goods in Chicago to kick off the 1997-98 season.
"It fits in with a lot of trends that we're seeing in the game," said John Embree, General Manager of Racquet Sports for Wilson, because “…..Chicago is a hotbed of the sport, as evidenced by this clinic, the annual Charities event, and this season's National Championships being played here.”
What the 30 pros from seven states got was absolutely spotless weekend weather, expert advice on everything from drills to strategy to running programs, and the opportunity to hear two former National Champions and current teaching pros, Rich Maier and Hank Irvine, dispense a wealth of knowledge about what makes a teaching pro good.
Source: Platform Tennis News, Fall 1997
Because of the differing size of each region and number of players from which to draw a team, the qualifications differed from region to region, but the top 16 ranked individual men, and the top eight nationally ranked women, were not eligible regardless of their region.
The Fall edition of Platform Tennis News carried descriptions of each region’s criteria for qualification