She may be turning 43 this September, but Japanese tennis superstar Kimiko Date-Krumm isn’t slowing down anytime soon. At this week’s Odlum Brown VanOpen in Vancouver, she is seeded second, just behind Su-Wei Hsieh of Chinese Taipei. Because she is enjoying playing the game so much, she doesn’t mind that there are times when her opponent across the net is actually young enough to be her daughter.
The good-natured Date-Krumm even starts the jokes herself. She doesn’t ask them “How old are you?” but instead asks, “How old is your mother?” And yes, when there are times she finds out the mother is even younger than her, they laugh together. Her tennis and life story is interesting and she has become an inspiration to women on the WTA tour. She was ranked as high as Number four in the world back in 1992 in the first phase of her tennis career. She surprised people when she suddenly quit in 1996, largely because she couldn’t cope with the pressure especially from the Japanese media. At that time Japanese athletes were not well-known outside the country and so when she was doing well in the tour, the local media had their sights set on her. “I loved tennis and I only wanted to play tennis and it was difficult to control myself and to understand everything,” she mused.
So for 12 years, she stayed retired, content with being a wife to German car racer Michael Krumm and just living normally, away from the eyes of the public. But then her husband challenged her to go back to playing professionally and so at age 38 she went back on tour. She is now ranked 65 in the world and even though women’s tennis has changed considerably, she is still challenging herself everyday. “Every moment for me is a big, big challenge physically and mentally,” shares Date-Krumm.
[ via Vancouver Sun ]
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