The Japanese Tennis Association has decided to go with younger players on its Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Group tournament coming up in Thailand, leaving 40-year old Kimiko Date-Krumm off the roster. Date has had a distiguished career since she turned pro in 1989. She had reached the semifinals of the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon, as well as the quarterfinals of the US Open, before retiring from the game in 1996.
In 2008, nearly 12 years after retiring, she shocked the tennis world by launching a comeback at age 38. Comebacks happen a lot in tennis, as seen recently by Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin and briefly, Martina Hingis. But to come back after 12 years at age 38, in a sport where most players start showing their age after hitting 30, was not met with much hope for Kimiko’s success. However, in 2009 she stunned the tennis world by becoming the second oldest player to win a WTA title at the Hansol Korea Open, beating Daniela Hantuchova, Alisa Kleybanova and Maria Kirilenko among others on the way to victory. Kimiko is currently the highest ranked Japanese player on the WTA, so I hope she was on board with the decision to leave her off the Fed Cup team and that it was not a decision made unilaterally by the JTA.