Japan’s Date set to pull plug on career in 2011

Tuesday, 23 November 2010 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Kimiko Date Krumm is set to quit professional tennis for good next year after admitting her body was feeling the strain.

The former top five player, who returned to tennis in 2008 following a 12-year layoff, said next season was likely to be her last after losing in the semi-finals of the Asian Games.

“I’m not a robot -- I’m only human,” the 40-year-old told reporters after being beaten by China’s Peng Shuai in Guangzhou.

“I’m not even sure I can play through next season, let alone the next Asian Games. I’ll be 44 years old then!” said Date Krumm, who won the Asian Games singles gold in Hiroshima in 1994.

Date Krumm, who recently humbled former world number one Maria Sharapova, gave short shrift to questions over a possible crack at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.

“It had been such a long time since I’d played at the Asian Games,” Date Krumm told Monday’s Japanese media. “It’s beyond my wildest dream to come back and be on the podium.”

Date Krumm, who reached a career-high world ranking of four in 1995, won two bronze medals in the singles and team events in Guangzhou.

Japan’s most successful tennis player has produced several shock results in 2010, including her first-round upset of former world number one Dinara Safina at the French Open.

“It’s been a good season but I’m exhausted now,” the world number 46 added.

“I need to recharge before I can think of competing next year. I hope I can have some good results in grand slams.”