Monday 12 May 2014

Kimiko Date-Krumm Still Walloping Balls at 43

Kimiko is still going strong and getting headlines. How long can she go on?

Japan's Kimiko Date Krumm is not ready to hang up her racquet yet. Photo: EPA

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Kimiko Date-Krumm still going strong at 43

Japanese player jokes that cryogenic freezing would help her further her career as she is not ready to retire yet
PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 May, 2014, 11:49pm

Agence France-Presse in Tokyo

Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm has no plans to quit tennis at the ripe old age of 43, but said she would have to be cryogenically frozen to carry on for too much longer.

The former world number four joked that going into a deep freeze like spoof spy Austin Powers and being defrosted in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics would appeal to her as she battles minor injuries in the run-up to the French Open.

"If I'd just have to sleep and then when I wake up it's like it's yesterday, that might work," Date-Krumm said ahead of a workout at a Tokyo gym.
Of course, my recovery time after matches is slower and I feel the fatigue more the next day
Kimiko Date-Krumm

"I'm not getting any younger."

"I did this in Mexico, this in Malaysia and this in Korea," she adds, pointing to various minor niggles in both legs. "It gets harder with age."

But the evergreen Date-Krumm, who reached her career-high ranking in 1995 at No 4, ruled out retirement, for now, even if she confessed to doubts sometimes creeping in as to how long she can continue.

"Next year? That's still a long way away," said the world number 84, bursting into a laugh.

"I have thought at times that enough is enough and wrestled with the idea [of quitting], but I've managed to overcome those feelings so far.

"I don't have any problem with people mentioning my age. Of course, my recovery time after matches is slower and I feel the fatigue more the next day."

Dressed in a designer blouse, blue jeans and heels, Date-Krumm is brutally honest about the future.

"When I came back at 37 I was way stronger than I am now," said the Kyoto native, who walked away from tennis in 1996, the year she suffered a controversial defeat by Steffi Graf in the Wimbledon semi-finals.

"But I'm not thinking about stopping yet."

In 2009, she became the second-oldest player in the modern era to win a WTA singles title after Billie Jean King when she claimed the Korea Open, and last year reached the third round at Wimbledon, the oldest woman to do so.

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