1973 was a historic year in tennis. Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes”, Hall Of Famer John Newcombe won the US Open, and the PLAYMATE Ball Machine was born. Its rugged red aluminum exterior, patented pitching system, and solid-state electronics were a sign of promising times to come. Billie Jean King’s coach, Dennis Van der Meer, was quick to discover this promising new technology and quickly became a long time friend and supporter of PLAYMATE Ball Machines.
Although the original PLAYMATE Ball Machine was cutting-edge in 1973, the birth of modern ball machines came a few years later in 1975. At a time before the invention of the Internet or even personal computers, Alfred Yarur, current President of PLAYMATE Ball Machines, decided to create a wish list of features for a new kind of ball machine. With a background in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, his list of features described the impossible.