Her Key to Better Tennis at 75: Kickboxing

By Jen Murphy


When Vera Konig asked a tennis pro how to improve her game, he told her to swap her racket for boxing gloves. “If anyone else had suggested kickboxing, I would have laughed,” she says. She’s been hooked on the combat sport for 20 years. Now, at 75, she credits twice-weekly sessions for keeping her competitive on the court.


Ms. Konig, a retired college professor based in New York City, describes herself as a lifelong athlete. She grew up skiing, running, swimming and hiking. In her forties, she started working with a tennis pro. She caught on quickly, but kickboxing elevated her game. “When I added the kickboxing, I saw great improvement to my upper-body strength, balance and agility,” she says.


Seven years ago Ms. Konig started competing in National Senior Women’s Tennis Association-sanctioned tournaments. Last year she found a partner her age and she now competes in singles and doubles. “It’s not easy to find someone my age who wants to make that commitment and who will work to develop a partnership,” she says.


The pair meet with a tennis pro once a week, but Ms. Konig hasn’t convinced her partner, Jo Shepoiser, to try kickboxing yet. In March, they placed third in their age group at the Barbara Cooper Cup tournament in Winter Park, Florida. Ms. Konig won her singles age category. They are training for the USTA National Women’s Grass Court Championships in July at Forest Hills, New York.