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View Full Version : Kimiko Date - Comeback at 37 !!


Mr. Federerpov
04-06-2008, 10:50 AM
Wow . Kimiko is supposed to return to the WTA tour at 37 .
What results can she realistically achieve ??

So great to hear of all those comebackers :D

Here´s a link to the article :

http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/ten...ory?id=3332241

Tennis_Monk
04-06-2008, 01:27 PM
That link doesnt seem to work (atleast for me).

jmsx521
04-06-2008, 02:06 PM
Apparently after retirement many pros suffer from that they no longer do what they should be doing (playing pro tennis)... so at some point they eventually make the decision -- I've got to get back on the tennis court! Hrbaty is an example; he knows he is not playing top tennis because of his recent elbow surgery... yet he has to be up there playing with the others.

Anyone remember Date's great match with Graf at Wimbledon? That one was very good!

35ft6
04-06-2008, 02:52 PM
Date had really simple stroke mechanics. Super compact flat strokes. It seems like guys with the simpler strokes can stay effective on tour longer, guys like Connors, Agassi, Bjorkman, and Mac even. Maybe it'll help Date.

MEAC_ALLAMERICAN
04-06-2008, 05:57 PM
Credit to her and I wish her best, but look at Ai Sugiyanma at 32 years old and still plugging away out there on the WTA tour.


Good for her, and bad for those who she happens to beat. :?

kabob
04-06-2008, 06:01 PM
Date had really simple stroke mechanics. Super compact flat strokes. It seems like guys with the simpler strokes can stay effective on tour longer, guys like Connors, Agassi, Bjorkman, and Mac even. Maybe it'll help Date.

Hmm, you know, the opposite token seems also to be true. Players like Guga Kuerten with long loopy strokes that required a lot of movement seems to get injured frequently and end their careers early. Look at how many injuries Gasquet has suffered through.

swimntennis
04-06-2008, 06:05 PM
Credit to her and I wish her best, but look at Ai Sugiyanma at 32 years old and still plugging away out there on the WTA tour.


Good for her, and bad for those who she happens to beat. :?

She just won doubles at Miami too so she's doing pretty well!

thalivest
04-06-2008, 06:53 PM
It shows what a joke the womens game has become that a 37 year old, who was a run-of-the-mill top 10 player who wasnt a real contender for a slam title ever, is thinking of a comeback.

MEAC_ALLAMERICAN
04-06-2008, 06:55 PM
It shows what a joke the womens game has become that a 37 year old, who was a run-of-the-mill top 10 player who wasnt a real contender for a slam title ever, is thinking of a comeback.

But yet almost everyone is harping on the return of Pete Sampras. :confused:

Explain that to me.

thalivest
04-06-2008, 07:08 PM
But yet almost everyone is harping on the return of Pete Sampras. :confused:

Explain that to me.

Only an idiot would be seriously believing or considering the idea of Sampras returning with any success at all. Even if you gave any merit to such idiotic thinking though Date is not the female equivalent of Sampras.

MEAC_ALLAMERICAN
04-06-2008, 07:17 PM
Only an idiot would be seriously believing or considering the idea of Sampras returning with any success at all. Even if you gave any merit to such idiotic thinking though Date is not the female equivalent of Sampras.


Sure,

But read the various threads about Pete’s comeback. Some would think it's the 2nd coming of Mr. Sampras, I didn't say Date was an equivalent to Sampras, but it's the only case that comparable at this time.

Just like the same idiots that honestly think Pete can beat Roger Federer in those silly exhibitions. I am just going by what I see on this board.

laurie
04-07-2008, 07:47 AM
Well hopefully she will some fun coming back.

Let's not forget big bad Brenda Schultz Mccarthy is playing tournaments and reclaimed the world record from Venus for the fastest serve - now at 130mph, she hit that in Cincinnati in 2006.

Plus Mary Pierce still wants to comeback, and Capriati hasn't officially retired (yet).

I've always said Tennis players retire too young. I think travelling has a lot to do with that - burnout from a young age of travelling the world playing tournaments and a crowded schedule.

BallzofSkill
04-07-2008, 07:54 AM
is she hot? only hot former tennis players should be allowed to come back.

laurie
04-07-2008, 09:53 AM
is she hot? only hot former tennis players should be allowed to come back.

It's a sport not a catwalk ;-)

MEAC_ALLAMERICAN
04-07-2008, 10:08 AM
BTW,


What event will she be making her comeback?

Mr. Federerpov
04-07-2008, 10:26 AM
here is a link :

http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/news?slug=reu-japandate&prov=reuters&type=lgns

bluetrain4
04-07-2008, 12:30 PM
Date was a great ball striker and her angles were unreal. I think she could win a few matches, but I don't think she'll do anything big. I'm not sure she can keep up with the consistent power of today's women's tour. Then again, women, though hitting harder, still hit relatively the same (i.e., fairly flat), with a few exceptions such as Heinin and Mauresmo. So the ball won't seem that foreign to her.

She has compact strokes which should help. Also, she retired early and is a fairly slight woman, so not a ton of wear and tear on the body. She should be in good shape. But, as I said earlier, I'm not expecting much, but I would love to see her play again. She made the SFs of 3 of the 4 Slams over her career and had big wins over top players. She was pretty good.

Of course, she's been retired since she was 26 or 27, so a comeback would have been better at 31 or 32.

Moose Malloy
04-07-2008, 12:47 PM
Date's one of the few players I can think of that really retired in her prime, it was sort of odd when she announced it. wasn't it because she wanted to get married & thought you shouldn't still be playing on tour if you were married? maybe it was a cultural thing.

Anyone remember Date's great match with Graf at Wimbledon? That one was very good!

great match, I think the 2nd set of that match was one of the few times I've seen Graf completely outplayed by anyone that didn't end up in the HOF.

I also remember her coming from 61,51 down to beat Sabatini at Key Biscayne one year with a bad shoulder.

I hope she gets into the main draw of some WTA events, would like to see her again.

Date was a great ball striker and her angles were unreal

I think she was a natural lefty that was forced to play righty, which explains some of those angles.

grafrules
04-07-2008, 12:57 PM
The 2nd set of the Wimbledon final in 1996 was the only time Graf was so badly outplayed by another baseliner on grass, even for a set. Sanchez or Sabatini never managed it and Seles sure as heck never managed it. It was really impressive stuff.

Moose Malloy
04-07-2008, 12:57 PM
here is a more detailed article, the main reason is her national championships, not some ego trip:

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Kimiko Date announced her return to professional tennis on Monday 12 years after hanging up her rackets, but ruled out a fairytale comeback.

A former top five player, the 37-year-old will test the waters at selected satellite tournaments before contemplating a full-scale return to the women’s WTA Tour.

The main objective for 2008 for Japan’s most successful tennis player is to do well at the national championships in November.

“Right now I don’t think playing on the WTA Tour is a realistic target,” Date told Reuters. “I won’t say there’s zero chance but it’s not my immediate goal.

“When I started practicing again I would get home and couldn’t even stand up in the kitchen. Luckily my husband was kind enough to let me out of the cooking.”

Date reached a career-high ranking of fourth in 1995 but abruptly quit the following year after making the semi-finals at Wimbledon and the last eight at the Atlanta Olympics.

“The last few years of my career I hated tennis,” said Date. “I didn’t enjoy traveling around the world and being alone. So I stopped and I distanced myself from the sport.

“But I’m older now, I’m married and I have a different outlook. I wanted to give something back to tennis. I’m going to take things gradually, to get a feel for where my game is. I’m not expecting miracles.”

TOKYO TRIUMPH

Date, a winner of seven WTA titles, recently beat former rivals Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova in an exhibition event in Tokyo.

“That convinced me to try to come back,” said Date, also a semi-finalist at the French and Australian Opens. “I felt like I wanted to play again and that I could still play the game.

“I had a blank of over 11 years. It’s different to having played all that time. My body hasn’t had that wear and tear but I’m not going to rush it. I don’t want to risk an injury.”

Date, who damaged her Achilles’ tendon in 2002 playing doubles in a one-off appearance at the Japan Open, admitted her return could be short-lived.

Asked by one Japanese reporter if she predicted a “Rocky”-style ending to her comeback, Date scrunched up her nose in mock horror.

“If I’m not good enough this time round I’ll quit,” she smiled. “I don’t want to be getting (wildcards) into events and taking the place of younger players. That wouldn’t be right.”

http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/news;_ylt=As8nTewdqtYwKcOU7QF_9P8pv7YF?slug=reu-japandatedc&prov=reuters&type=lgns

Moose Malloy
04-07-2008, 01:05 PM
The 2nd set of the Wimbledon final in 1996 was the only time Graf was so badly outplayed by another baseliner on grass, even for a set. Sanchez or Sabatini never managed it and Seles sure as heck never managed it. It was really impressive stuff.

Since Graf was injured in '97(the year Hingis won Wimbledon) do you think Date would have had a good shot at winning it had she entered? On the basis of her performance the previous year, I think so. That was a fantastic effort vs Graf. Again, this was a really odd retirement imo.

hyogen
04-07-2008, 01:20 PM
Date wasn't a bad looking girl at all. I wish her the best. I guess she was a top 5 player at one point?

grafrules
04-07-2008, 01:29 PM
Since Graf was injured in '97(the year Hingis won Wimbledon) do you think Date would have had a good shot at winning it had she entered? On the basis of her performance the previous year, I think so. That was a fantastic effort vs Graf. Again, this was a really odd retirement imo.

Yes I do think she would have been a real contender for the Wimbledon title in 1997. I actually thought she was a dark horse for the U.S Open that year after her performance in one of the warm ups and was shocked at her early upset loss there. Definitely a strange retirement. I think she was just starting to hit her peak.

Even though I am a Graf fan there are some who suggested Date might have won that 96 semifinal but for the match being suspended too. There was some controversy over that since it was iffy whether it was too dark or not.

bluetrain4
04-07-2008, 01:31 PM
The 2nd set of the Wimbledon final in 1996 was the only time Graf was so badly outplayed by another baseliner on grass, even for a set. Sanchez or Sabatini never managed it and Seles sure as heck never managed it. It was really impressive stuff.

In think it was the semifinal. Regardless, fantastic match.

bluegrasser
04-07-2008, 01:37 PM
Only an idiot would be seriously believing or considering the idea of Sampras returning with any success at all. Even if you gave any merit to such idiotic thinking though Date is not the female equivalent of Sampras.

Pete would have some success, probably could work his way into the top 50, but that's not going to happen - he's done with tennis.

Moose Malloy
04-07-2008, 01:57 PM
here are some career highlights from the wta site:

1994 - At Australian Open, was first Japanese woman in 21 years to reach Grand Slam SF (last done at 1973 Australian Open by K. Sawamatsu (Naoko Sato/Pam Whytcross were in 1978 Australian Open doubles final); w/countrywoman Endo, marked first time two Japanese players reached 4r at the same US Open in Open Era l. in QF by eventual tournament champion Sanchez Vicario); earned first title outside native country at Sydney, d. world No. 4 C. Martinez and No. 7 MJ Fernandez; own ranking vaulted to No. 9 (first Japanese player ever in the Top 10); made a three-peat performance at Tokyo [Japan Open], winning third consecutive title

1995 - In 1995, became first Japanese woman to reach the SFs at Roland Garros; included wins over Davenport and Majoli, l. to Sanchez Vicario; became first Japanese player to reach Miami final - in SF, trailed Sabatini 6-1, 5-1 before eventually saving 3mp to win 16 76 76 (l. to No. 2 seed Graf in final); one of 16 players to qualify for season-ending 1995 WTA Tour Championships, d. Novotna to advance to QF; surpassed $1 million in career prize money at Tokyo [Pan Pacific] (won title over Davenport and upset world No. 4 C. Martinez in QF

1996 - Won 200th career singles match at Sydney, d. Spirlea in 2r; swept singles and doubles titles (her one and only WTA Tour doubles title) at Tokyo [Japan Open]; d. world No. 1 Graf at Fed Cup 76 36 12-10 and also d. No. 5 Huber; d. world No. 2 C. Martinez and No. 14 Pierce en route to 3s SF loss to No. 1 Graf at Wimbledon; earned last singles title before retiring at San Diego by d. No. 72 Kamio, No. 15 Sabatini, No. 3 C. Martinez and No. 2 Sanchez Vicario; held 3mp vs. world No. 1 Seles at Tokyo [Nichirei] before falling 64 16 76(6)

It says she's 5'4", I thought she was taller than that.

35ft6
04-07-2008, 02:19 PM
Hmm, you know, the opposite token seems also to be true. Players like Guga Kuerten with long loopy strokes that required a lot of movement seems to get injured frequently and end their careers early. Look at how many injuries Gasquet has suffered through.I wonder if it's because guys with more compact strokes can take the ball earlier, which means they don't have to back up as much, which means they don't have to move as much, resulting in less wear and tear on the legs and hips? Agassi, when he was on, never backed up, made his opponent run 4 times more than he did.

grafrules
04-07-2008, 02:21 PM
In think it was the semifinal. Regardless, fantastic match.

Yeah sorry. That was a typo on my behalf. I meant the semi.

Moose Malloy
04-07-2008, 02:28 PM
I wonder if it's because guys with more compact strokes can take the ball earlier, which means they don't have to back up as much, which means they don't have to move as much, resulting in less wear and tear on the legs and hips?

Having 'compact strokes' didn't prevent Mecir & Rios from being plagued by injury.

Even though I am a Graf fan there are some who suggested Date might have won that 96 semifinal but for the match being suspended too

when was it suspended?

fastdunn
04-07-2008, 02:33 PM
this may be reflecting some changes in japanese culture. i also heard lots of news on some trouble with the wife of japan's prince....
ok, i may be over-interpreting the context but who knows...

vsbabolat
04-07-2008, 02:35 PM
I don't think Date is under the delusion that she is going to return to the top of the world in tennis.
http://uk.reuters.com/article/sportsNews/idUKT11818520080407
By Alastair Himmer

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Kimiko Date announced her return to professional tennis on Monday 12 years after hanging up her rackets, but ruled out a fairytale comeback.

A former top five player, the 37-year-old will test the waters at selected satellite tournaments before contemplating a full-scale return to the women's WTA Tour.

The main objective for 2008 for Japan's most successful tennis player is to do well at the national championships in November.

"Right now I don't think playing on the WTA Tour is a realistic target," Date told Reuters. "I won't say there's zero chance but it's not my immediate goal.

"When I started practicing again I would get home and couldn't even stand up in the kitchen. Luckily my husband was kind enough to let me out of the cooking."

Date reached a career-high ranking of fourth in 1995 but abruptly quit the following year after making the semi-finals at Wimbledon and the last eight at the Atlanta Olympics.

"The last few years of my career I hated tennis," said Date. "I didn't enjoy travelling around the world and being alone. So I stopped and I distanced myself from the sport.

"But I'm older now, I'm married and I have a different outlook. I wanted to give something back to tennis. I'm going to take things gradually, to get a feel for where my game is. I'm not expecting miracles."
Date, a winner of seven WTA titles, recently beat former rivals Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova in an exhibition event in Tokyo.

"That convinced me to try to come back," said Date, also a semi-finalist at the French and Australian Opens. "I felt like I wanted to play again and that I could still play the game.

"I had a blank of over 11 years. It's different to having played all that time. My body hasn't had that wear and tear but I'm not going to rush it. I don't want to risk an injury."

Date, who damaged her Achilles' tendon in 2002 playing doubles in a one-off appearance at the Japan Open, admitted her return could be short-lived.

Asked by one Japanese reporter if she predicted a "Rocky"-style ending to her comeback, Date scrunched up her nose in mock horror.

"If I'm not good enough this time round I'll quit," she smiled. "I don't want to be getting (wildcards) into events and taking the place of younger players. That wouldn't be right."

grafrules
04-07-2008, 03:18 PM
when was it suspended?

It was suspended due to darkness immediately after the second set finished 6-2 for Date. I dont know what time England time it was when it was. They came back and played the 3rd set the following morning which Graf won.

Here is an old article:

http://www.iht.com/articles/1996/07/06/wimb.t.php

If not for the rains, Japan might have been celebrating its first woman Grand Slam finalist.

By the time Graf and Date had begun their match Thursday night, after the men had been stopping and starting for hours, it was fresh and clear. It was also almost dark.

No sooner had Date seized the second set, with a shocking run of six games, than the match was being suspended because of bad light.

Had they begun play earlier in the day, as scheduled, Graf would have been in deep trouble.

"I wanted to continue to play Thursday night until the match was finished, because I had just started getting used to her style and also my movement was getting better," said Date, 25. "If we had continued playing, I think I could have stayed at that level."

Date's left leg was taped around an injury suffered in Tokyo last April during the Federation Cup, a reminder of her upset over Graf, which won the title for Japan.

The only other woman to have beaten Graf this year, 15-year-old Martina Hingis of Switzerland, had won just five games in her fourth-round match with Graf this week.

"She loves the way I play," Graf said. "I play very flat and with pace, and she just has to take my power and she knows pretty early where I'm going to hit it. If we played a little slower, it would be much more difficult for her, but it's just not my game."

Graf was ill Friday morning with a head cold, but her serve had improved overnight.

Both players held stubbornly in the final set until the sixth game, when the 5-foot-4-inches (1.63-meter) Date dubiously tried — and netted — a drop shot. It put her in a hole, and she converted the break point for Graf by missing with a backhand uncharacteristically.

Date fought off two match points on serve, and at times she patiently outrallied the champion. But she didn't recover the rhythm of the night before. She might spend the rest of her career trying to find it.

Leelord337
04-07-2008, 03:25 PM
nothing compared to martina navratilova coming back in her 50's?

btw, here's a pic of date. i would date date. :)

http://www.suomi.or.jp/date/pics/paris961.jpg

35ft6
04-07-2008, 08:36 PM
Having 'compact strokes' didn't prevent Mecir & Rios from being plagued by injury.There are always exceptions. But it's a simple equation:

more compact strokes > can take ball earlier > cut off angles thus have to move less

Also why people with average footspeed can achieve despite their limited mobility, people like Connors, Agassi, and Seles, none of which were blazing fast.

lacoster
04-07-2008, 08:48 PM
I just YouTubed some of her matches. Her game is very simple: no frills, no loop; straight racquet-back prep and very flat! Also did research and she's got some good wins over legends like Hingis, Seles, Sanchez-Vicario, Pierce, Graf, Davenport, et al.

Brenda Shultz-McCarthy is also 37 and is currently playing the tour full-time, but she is not as good as Date. She is hovering in the top 200.

Date looks to be hitting the ball really well when she easily took out Graf and Navratilova a few weeks ago.

The articles say that she wants to play at her National Championships. Does she want to play the Olympics?

Leelord337
04-07-2008, 10:38 PM
I just YouTubed some of her matches. Her game is very simple: no frills, no loop; straight racquet-back prep and very flat! Also did research and she's got some good wins over legends like Hingis, Seles, Sanchez-Vicario, Pierce, Graf, Davenport, et al.

Brenda Shultz-McCarthy is also 37 and is currently playing the tour full-time, but she is not as good as Date. She is hovering in the top 200.

Date looks to be hitting the ball really well when she easily took out Graf and Navratilova a few weeks ago.

The articles say that she wants to play at her National Championships. Does she want to play the Olympics?

schultz mccarthy hit a 130mph serve just a few years ago. :shock:

equinox
04-08-2008, 12:41 AM
There are always exceptions. But it's a simple equation:

more compact strokes > can take ball earlier > cut off angles thus have to move less

Also why people with average footspeed can achieve despite their limited mobility, people like Connors, Agassi, and Seles, none of which were blazing fast.

Don't forget bartoli!

WillAlwaysLoveYouTennis
04-08-2008, 05:36 PM
I certainly don't think it's insane for this comeback on the women's tour. I think she'll get some more solid wins especially with the inconsistent play by so many of women, even the top players.

Ocean Drive
04-09-2008, 10:03 AM
Why did she retire so early?

hyogen
04-09-2008, 11:20 AM
she got burned out from having to travel around so much and being alone/single. she said she hated the last 2 years of being on tour. now she is married, has kids, and has a different outlook on life. she recently beat Steffi Graf and Navratilova in an exhibition match, which has really encouraged her to make a comeback.

!Tym
04-09-2008, 03:46 PM
Hmm, you know, the opposite token seems also to be true. Players like Guga Kuerten with long loopy strokes that required a lot of movement seems to get injured frequently and end their careers early. Look at how many injuries Gasquet has suffered through.

Yes, true, and there's Bruguera too who falls in that category...BUT then again there's also guys like Richard Krajicek, Mark Philipoussis, Magnus Norman, and Marcelo Rios who ALSO fall into the category of guys whose games literally fell apart due to their bodies not being able to hold up.

I think to be honest that health is a very relative thing at the pro level. It's like Malivai Washington said about Bruguera, he was always hampered by injury, it seemed like at every tournament he showed up to, he always had a little something wrong with him. In other words, he said that he was just one of those guys whose bodies couldn't hold up to the rigors of the tour.

In other words, while stroke mechanics certainly play a role, I really don't think it's THE defining criterium at this level. At the tour level, guys have to train and hit year round with never a true off-season for years and years and years. Then, add all the mileage they put on their bodies just to even get into position to turn pro in the first place. It's often said of pro athlete injuries that the human body just wasn't designed to be put under so much stress. The average person simply doesn't put nearly as much mileage on their body parts as ANY pro athlete does. It's like a Japanese car vs. an American. Some people say, oh, Hondas are reliable and Fords aren't. BUT, let's be realistic here, no matter how reliable that Honda may be due you really expect it to last 200,000 plus miles without any problems? No, of course, not, just like car parts are subject to break down and are more likely to break down with increased mileage and stress, so to are humans and their assorted body parts.

What I think is that some bodies like a Krajicek, or Bruguera, or Rios, or Guga, or whomever just turned out to be a little more fragile than others.

The thing is, in terms of simple stroke mechanics making it easier to continue playing tour level tennis at an older age? That probably really is true. However, that's ONLY if you're body still holds up and as is in good running order.

Look at Agassi, the cortisone shots finally stopped working for him...and lo and behold, he suddenly looks his age, bad back and all.

Moose Malloy
04-11-2008, 09:49 AM
It was suspended due to darkness immediately after the second set finished 6-2 for Date. I dont know what time England time it was when it was. They came back and played the 3rd set the following morning which Graf won.


Just looked at my tape, the match was stopped at 8:55 local time. But the 1st two sets only took 1:12, so they may have finished it had they kept playing. Tracy Austin said they played untill 9:15 early in the tournament.

Really great stuff from Date in that 2nd set, she had Steffi on a string.

goober
04-19-2008, 03:39 PM
Here's March 15 exhibition with Graf which she won. Graf looks like she is not moving very well or maybe just wasn't trying hard?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Enou4OwEO8k

Moose Malloy
04-28-2008, 09:13 AM
an update:

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s most successful tennis player Kimiko Date made it two wins out of two on her return to professional tennis on Monday.

The 37-year-old, a former top-five player, beat teenager Shuko Aoyama 6-1 3-6 6-3 to move to within one win of qualifying for the main draw of an ITF tournament in Gifu, central Japan.

Date, who reached a career-high ranking of fourth in the world in 1995, marked her first professional match in almost 12 years with a come-from-behind win over schoolgirl Anna Tajima at the weekend.

“Stamina-wise I’m fine but it will take a while for my muscles to get used to it all,” said Date, who has been using an oxygen chamber and acupuncture to help speed recovery after training. “I have to get my body to adapt again.”

Date, who won seven WTA Tour singles titles, abruptly quit the game in 1996 after reaching the semi-finals of Wimbledon and the last eight at the Atlanta Olympics.

But she decided to attempt a comeback after beating former rivals Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova in an exhibition in Tokyo recently.