Groppel takes tennis to new heights

August 22, 2017

Tennis made its way to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in August, when Dr. Jack Groppel, the Health and Wellness Advisor to the Tennis Industry, ascended the 19,341-foot summit with a “Net Generation” tennis racquet and ball then volleyed atop the tallest peak on the African continent.


“You should have seen the look on the guides’ faces when I pulled the racquet and ball out of my backpack,” says Dr. Groppel, who believes it was the first time a tennis ball was hit at the top of Kilimanjaro. “I had someone toss a ball for me to volley. The lack of oxygen, however, prevented it from being my best volley!”

Dr. Groppel, who is 65 years old and has knee replacements in both legs, said for eight months prior to the climb, he played tennis three times a week for his cardio training. He ascended the mountain with his 12-year-old son.

“It was an incredible journey to share with my son, hiking and camping for eight days to get up and down the mountain,” he says. He estimates they walked 80 to 90 miles in the process.

Dr. Groppel is the co-founder of the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute and is the chair of the industry’s Tennis Health & Wellness Task Force.

“In the tennis industry, our role is to take tennis to new heights,” Dr. Groppel says. “While we may have literally done that on Mount Kilimanjaro, our industry focus on the health and wellness benefits of tennis, combined with the new Net Generation platform designed to bring 6- to 18-year-olds into the sport, will continue to help raise this game.”