by mike ellis
he American Platform Tennis Association (APTA) inducted Mary Doten of Western Springs into the Platform Tennis Hall of Fame at the APTA Nationals in Pittsburgh last month. Doten, a six-time national champion in doubles, was honored for her excellence in the sport, her contributions in growing the sport, and her charitable work for underprivileged children in Guatemala. “[The board] said that they looked at my six past national championships,” Doten said, “as well as what I had done off the court as far as teaching, growing the sport for Hinsdale paddle, and some of the volunteerism and giving back that I’ve done in Guatemala.” Doten was inducted alongside Susie Keane, her partner for all six national titles and a former professional tennis player. In her hall of fame induction speech, Doten credited Keane for her role in their collective success. “[The] unshakable confidence that she showed elevated my game and made me a better player,” she said in her speech. Doten also thanked Hinsdale paddle ambassadors Bill O’Brien, Paul Wiggin and Charlie Usher for their “countless volunteer hours” and for teaching her “the importance of giving back to this great sport.”
A winning career Roughly two decades ago, Doten was introduced to platform tennis by Hilary Marold, a fellow national champion and hall of fame member. Doten said Marold, from Glen Ellyn, was looking to assemble a group of women that would be interested in traveling to the North Shore to compete. “It was through her that I started playing, competing a bit and just getting more and more hooked on the game,” she said. Having played Division I tennis at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, Doten was able to make the
transition between racquet sports over time. In 2003, she and partner Susie Keane entered the APTA Nationals as an unseeded team and surprised their more seasoned competition by winning the title. “That was very memorable in that we had to go through I think five of the top eight seeds to win that event,” Doten said. “We weren’t expected to do anything; it was kind of a no-pressure situation.” The 2003 championship marked the beginning of an era of Doten and Keane dominance in women’s paddle. They would win nationals five more times in the next seven years (2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010).—And Doten said she and Keane not only won the national championship in 2006, but also completed an undefeated season in tournament play.
Growing paddle in Hinsdale Although Mary Doten is a nationallyrecognized name in the sport of platform tennis, she has also been instrumental in growing the game in the Hinsdale area— especially women’s paddle. Before 2004, there were no platform tennis courts at Katherine Legge Memorial (KLM) Park; instead, Hinsdale Park District players used two courts at Burns Field on the north side of town. But once four courts were constructed at KLM, Doten said the women’s paddle program took off. “We started out with a lot of men playing when it was strictly Burns Field, but only a handful of women,” she said. “Once we got these four courts at KLM, and got the women excited about it and looking to do some travel teams, it steamrolled. It’s a game that’s highly addictive. [For] people that play it a couple of times, most love it and want to play more.” Doten has given numerous private lessons to beginners, while also - Continued on the next page www.hinsdale60521.com |Hinsdale Magazine 45