The actual measurements of a doubles court are 78 feet long from baseline to baseline and 36 feet wide from sideline to sideline. The rest of the 120-foot-by-60-foot area enclosed by fences is used for back room and side room in running after tough shots, and I decided this same space would serve beautifully as an around-the-pool area for lolling and getting tanned. In short a 78-foot-by-36-foot pool would be just dandy.
I bought a pick and shovel and excavated this area to a depth of 10 feet at the deep end and 3 feet at the shallow. How I disposed of the dirt I prefer not to reveal. Realizing that the excavation might not be waterproof, I then got hold of a lot of plastic covers of the sort they used to wrap dry-cleaned suits and had my wife sew them all together to make one gigantic liner for the bottom and sides of the pool. Being next to the dry-cleaning establishment certainly helped, since we were able to persuade many of the customers to give us the covers before they took them home.
Next I put the giant plastic liner in the pool and filled it with water. The latter I accomplished by attaching a piece of hose to a faucet in the bar and grill one night after it had closed. I suppose this may have been a tiny bit unethical, but I reasoned that the establishment had been doing fine lately and would do even better when it gained additional patrons attracted by our fabulous swimming court, or tennis pool.
The next morning I went out to see how well our plastic pool liner had worked. Every drop of water was still there! But the catch was that I now had a swimming pool but no longer had a tennis court.
I went to a friend who is what is known technically as a scientific engineer and told him, "This is what I have in mind. Can you invent a sort of plastic that could be rolled out over the surface of a swimming pool and would serve as the surface of a tennis court?"
His ears perked up. "Sounds intriguing," he said. "Just a minute." He fetched a notebook and pencil and returned. "Go on," he requested.
"As I see it, the material should be very light—not over three or four pounds—and very thin. Perhaps not more than one-sixteenth of an inch thick."
"I'd recommend one-eighth to be on the safe side," he objected.
I grinned. "Good old Mac!" I said.
"The way I figure it," I went on, "the cover would roll out from under the two ends of the pool and then come together where the net posts are. To permit the court to be rolled into place and then rolled off again, the net posts might have an additional dingus that would function like another ratchet."