Meet Kimiko Date-Krumm, The Oldest Female Tennis Player Ever To Win A Match At The Australian Open

oldest female tennis player kimiko date krummKimiko Date-Krumm may not have as many ad deals as Maria Sharapova, but she just became the oldest female tennis player ever to win a match at the Australian Open, something that earns her bigger points in our book. She’s 42 years old (the oldest to win before her was 40), and has joked that she’s old enough to be some of her competitors’ mom (she is, in fact a mom, by the way), but it doesn’t seem to be holding her back.

If her age isn’t enough, she’s also making her comeback after a 12-year hiatus from tennis, and the Australian Open match she won was the first she’s played in since 1996. How does the 5’4” Japanese player stay competitive? After winning, she said simply:

“I eat a lot; I sleep a lot. Last night I was in the bed before 10. I finished the dinner already 7:30. Sleep before 10 like the kids. Because always after the match or after the practice I’m tired, so I need time to recover a lot. … It’s [a] simple life. That’s it. Nothing special.”

In other interviews, she’s acknowledged that returning to tennis at her age, after such a long break, isn’t exactly simple. In 2009, when she competed in the U.S. Open after her 12-year break, she told ESPN that she had to be careful about recovery, because of her age:

Before returning to the court, I had personal training sessions three-four times a week. However, since I cannot just think about training and building up my physique considering my current age, I spent a considerable amount of time for recovery. As I am currently in the midst of a season, it is quite difficult to find time for serious training, but I try to find time as much as I can to keep it up.

It seems the hard work–and break from it–are paying off for Krumm. Now someone get this awesome female athlete some advertising deals.

Photo: Getty Images

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    • Hannah

      Wow, she’s awesome.
      Avoid the unbelievably snarky opening line and you’ve got a great article.

    • Russell

      Not a good article as it has a number of mistakes there in the very little information given . It is not the first match Kimiko has played at the Australian Open since 1996 – indeed she has played there every year since her comeback – 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 . It is just the first she has won in the Australian Open since 1996 .

    • Roberto

      As a Date fan since the early 90s, I’m disappointed in this article. So many mistakes! This is not the first Australian Open match she’s played since 1996 … She’s been in the main draw every year since 2009, but didn’t win a first round match until the other day. She’s not a mom, as far as I know …. in fact, when she won a title a couple of years ago, she said that her comeback was going so well that “having kids will have to wait”. Also, the article makes it sound like she’s some obscure player tooling around for years in the shadows of the women’s tour, when actually in 1995, she was ranked #4 in the world, and got to the semi-finals of the Australian Open one year (she’s also been in the semis of the French, the quarters at the US Open, and the semis of Wimbledon where she took a dramatic set off of Steffi Graf). Oh, and she won her 2nd round match today.

    • Roberto

      Oh …. and in the 90′s, being Japan’s premier woman athlete, she was one of the highest-paid female athletes in the world, with a ton of endorsements. I’m sure she still has some today, such is her superstar status in Japan.