Kimiko 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