By Janice Elizabeth Berte
Concord resident Dorcas Miller is still playing tennis at 74 years young. Her drive to play tennis started in her late 30s.
“I was a bored homemaker and felt I needed something more in my life,” Miller recalled.
On a beautiful Sunday morning, Miller decided to go horseback riding. Unfortunately, this relaxing day led to a bad fall off of the horse; she dislocated her shoulder. Her doctor gave her two options to rectify the break – either go to physical therapy or start playing tennis. Miller chose tennis.
Her skills started off weak, but she joined tennis tournaments and became more proficient. Going forward with 10 years under her belt, persistence and lots of hard work, Miller became more advanced and well known in the tennis circle. She exercises with a personal trainer twice per week, and is coached by a tennis pro once per week, coupled with playing tennis 90 minutes each day. This kind of hardcore regime has elevated her game enough to enter Category 1 national senior tournaments around the U.S. She also competes in four major national tournaments per year which are located throughout the country.
Now at the age of 74, Miller believes in “training smarter” and not harder to play well. She takes walks with her husband, Ken, and does a lot of core and stretching exercises to keep her fit for tennis. Her nutrition plan is to eat whatever she wants, but keeps her weight in check and watches her portion sizes.
Miller recognizes her husband as the catalyst in getting her more involved in the tennis arena. Ken has been and still is extremely supportive of her love for tennis and encourages her to enter as many tournaments as she can handle physically.
In 2013, Miller was inducted into the USTA New England Hall of Fame and in 2014 was ranked third in the New England women’s 60-plus singles division, and number one in the New England women’s 70-plus singles. Miller has been ranked number six nationally in the singles play and she reached number one in the national doubles rankings.
Miller and her husband have been board members for eight years on the New England Senior Tennis Foundation. In addition, they established the New England Senior Slams for tennis players 50 and up in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Their tennis games are played on hard court, clay and grass.
Over the years, Miller has met celebrity tennis pros such as Tracy Austin, Roy Emerson and John Lloyd. Miller said she feels the new and younger tennis players “are superhuman in terms of their endurance and how smart they play the sport. They hit the ball harder and just play a superb game all around. I do enjoy watching the younger tennis players, but one of my favorites is Serena Williams. She has impressed me over the years with her top-notch on-court tennis skills.”
Of the future, Miller said she will continue to do what is on her current program, and loves to visit her two children and grandchildren, reading and doing crossword puzzles.