MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (AP) - Kimiko Date-Krumm is still winning in the Grand Slam arena at age 42, much to the dismay of her former peers.
Asked what her 1990s-era rivals such as Steffi Graf and Gabriela Sabatini say when they see her, Date-Krumm said: “Everybody say to me, `You are crazy.’ First word is always, `You are crazy.”
Date-Krumm advanced to the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Shahar Peer.
Graf, who beat Date-Krumm in the 1994 Australian Open semifinals before going on to win the title, is now married to four-time Australian Open champion Andre Agassi and has two children.
“Of course, she say to me, `You should stop now and make the baby,’” Date-Krumm said of the advice she gets from the 43-year-old former German ace.
Date-Krumm doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. At 42 years, 111 days, she is the second-oldest woman to reach the third round of a Grand Slam after Renee Richards, who was 45 years, 8 days old when she reached the third round of the U.S. Open in 1979. Date-Krumm upset No. 12-seeded Nadia Petrova in the first round.
The Japanese veteran joked she could be playing for five more years, but added, it’s “not easy. I need new body.”
For a woman who says she’s still playing tennis for fun, she certainly didn’t look like she was enjoying herself against Peer in the stifling heat on Thursday.
Serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set, Date-Krumm dug herself into a 0-40 hole and started muttering to herself in Japanese and glaring at Peer’s singing supporters in the stands. “I felt so heavy (in) my body and I couldn’t move,” she said.
However, after winning the match two games later, she threw her head back, kissed her racket and smiled at the hundreds of Japanese fans cheering in the stands.
She survived to play another round. And if that isn’t enough, she’s still in contention in the doubles draw, too.
BIG FINISH: On Tuesday, Serena Williams was concerned she wouldn’t be able to play her second-round match at the Australian Open because of a minor ankle injury.
She not only played _ and won _ the match against Spanish teenager Garbine Muguruza on Thursday, she also hit one of her fastest serves ever.
Serving for the match at 5-0 in the second set, Williams smacked an ace down the center of the service box that registered 128.6 mph (207 km/h).