In a circuit dominated primarily by 20-somethings (apologies to World #1 Serena Williams, #5 Li Na and a few other 30+ ladies), Kimiko Date-Krumm is proof that life does not end at 40.
At 42 years old and counting (and who’s counting? surely not her), the Japanese-born Date turned a few heads at this year’s Australian Open by beating #12-seed Nadia Petrova before bowing out in the third round.
Her career path is similar to many of ours, filled with jagged lines rather than vertical moves. She made her Grand Slam debut at the 1989 French Open at age 19 but after seven years on the WTA grind, she nearly vanished from the world of tennis in 1996.
12 years after losing to Martina Hingis in the second round of the WTA Tour Championships, Date returned to the game at age 37 by dipping her toes in the ITF pool.
By 2009, she was back at the Grand Slam level, competing in the Australian Open. She went on to win the 2009 Hansol Korea Open to become the second-oldest woman to ever win a WTA event; only Billie Jean King trumped that accomplishment.
While she has never progressed past the semis at a Grand Slam, Date has won eight WTA and 14 ITF singles events.
There is no official word on whether Date will play in the French Open, but with a current WTA ranking of 77, she very well could be in the field.
No official word on her discovery of the Fountain of Youth, either.
Here are highlights from Date-Krumm defeating Nadia Petrova in Australia: