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Veteran Date-Krumm just happy to make second week

Kimiko Date-Krumm hits a backhand shot on No.12 Court.
by Dan Imhoff
Wednesday 3 July 2013

A dive, a missed volley and a tumble on the turf. Even recalling the sequence in a post-match interview, you still could not wipe the smile from Kimiko Date-Krumm despite the veteran having just bowed out of the mixed doubles at Wimbledon on Wednesday.

At 42, the energetic Japanese pocket rocket had become the oldest woman to reach the third round of Wimbledon in the Open era last week. She had taken down German qualifier Carina Witthoeft and Romanian Alexandra Cadantu without the loss of a set. And while her singles run may have come to an abrupt halt by Serena Williams for the loss of just a single game on Centre Court, but she wasn’t putting those big Yonex bags back on a flight to the Land of the Rising Sun in a hurry.

As the No.14 seeds, she reached the third round of the mixed doubles with Spaniard David Marrero, but they fell 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 7-5 late on Wednesday evening to Dutchman Jean-Julien Rojer and Russian Vera Dushevina.

She’s hurtling herself across the court, carefully crafting those unorthodox points and putting herself through the rigors of training against players more than 20 years her junior for one reason – it’s still a ton of fun. “Yeah of course, especially in the mixed doubles, even in the women’s doubles I’m very happy to play and always it’s fun to play doubles. Mixed doubles it’s more speedy and the man help a lot,” she grinned.

Notching the age milestone in Grand Slam singles was quite an accomplishment for a player who last reached stage 17 years ago. If she has post-40s mixed doubles titles on the agenda though, she’d have to keep winning for at least another seven years to nab that record from Martina Navratilova.

The great Czech-American claimed the mixed trophy with Bob Bryan just one month shy of her 50th birthday, at the 2006 US Open. “I never think of that,” Date-Krumm laughed. “But I just want to keep my level, my tennis level and just I want to stay two weeks, the second week of the Grand Slam.”

She can pack those Yonex bags for Japan now with that mission ticked off the list.

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