Wimbledon 2013: Kimiko Date-Krumm, 42, topples teenager with timeless ease

 

In September 1970, the first Virginia Slims tournament was played by a small group of women protesting at inequality in pay under the slogan "You've come a long way, baby". The same month Kimiko Date – now Date-Krumm since her marriage to the German racing driver Michael Krumm – was born in Kyoto; and no player of either sex has come further.

Follow game-by-game coverage as Andy Murray attempts to reach the third round with a victory over Yen-Hsun Lu

At 42, she is by far the oldest player on the circuit and in a match stretching across the generations she handed out a lesson in shot-making and artistry to the German teenager Carina Witthöft.

It would be graceless to call it age versus beauty, but the manner of her remorseless 6-0, 6-2 victory in less than three-quarters of an hour must have cheered fortysomethings everywhere. Those Japanese supporters comprising the vast majority of the crowd on a heaving No 14 Court – hardly the ideal venue – were certainly delighted.

Few, if any, Germans were in evidence and Witthöft must have found it a lonely place, packed crowd or not. She had walked on to court to silence; her opponent, 24 years older and ranked No 4 in the world the year she reached a Wimbledon semi-final in 1996, was greeted like the heroine she is in Tokyo.

The first set lasted a mere 16 minutes and it was the ninth game of the match before Witthöft managed to win one. It was appropriate Date-Krumm should finish things off with a service game to love, wrapping up the match in just 44 minutes.

Date-Krumm retired at the end of 1996 and did not return to court – aside from a brief doubles cameo in 2002 – until 2008. She expected her return to last no more than a year. Now she is enjoying playing so much, she says: "It's difficult thinking about stopping one day."

She also had some advice for the Witthöfts of this world: "Tennis, it's more a mental sport, so they need more experience, a little bit more variation. Because now young players, they have so much power, but when the ball is coming, [they] just hit it. Bam, bam, bam. But still I'm enjoying it very much. I like the challenge because [it is] not easy for my age." It was today.

Follow game-by-game coverage as Andy Murray attempts to reach the third round with a victory over Yen-Hsun Lu

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project