Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Life begins at 43 as Kimiko Date-Krumm wins in Japan

updated 5:50 AM EDT, Wed October 9, 2013
Kimiko Date-Krumm shows no sign of retiring for a second time as she notches up another win in 2013.
Kimiko Date-Krumm shows no sign of retiring for a second time as she notches up another win in 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Evergreen Kimiko Date-Krumm defeats teenager Laura Robson in Japan Open
  • The 43-year-old Japanese player is 24 years older than the British world No. 42
  • Novak Djokovic says rival Rafael Nadal deserves to be world No. 1
  • Roger Federer returns in Shanghai Masters for first match since U.S. Open

(CNN) -- A quarter of a century advantage is nothing new to Kimiko Date-Krumm.

The 43-year-old may be in the twilight of her career but these are still golden years for the evergreen player from Kyoto.

Date-Krumm defied a 24-year age gap to defeat British teenager Laura Robson 6-4 6-4 on home soil at the Japan Open.

In 1996, the Japanese retired from tennis after losing to 16-year-old Swiss Martina Hingis at the Chase Championships in New York.

But after returning to the circuit in 2008, Date-Krumm is now doling out defeats to the next generation of tennis starlets.

This season the veteran has reached the third round of the Australian Open and Wimbledon's All England Championships.

King still fights for tennis equality
Secret to beating tennis' big four
Tennis greats gather for ATP reunion

At the start of the year, the world No. 54 revealed the secret to her longevity was a simple life and a lot of sleep.

But Date-Krumm, who is married to German racing driver Michael Krumm, is no slouch.

She ran the 2004 London Marathon in an impressive three hours and 30 minutes, has raised funds to build a school in Laos and holds coaching sessions for children around the globe.

The next challenge for Date-Krumm is facing 22-year-old compatriot Misaki Doi in the second round of the Japan Open.

Djokovic doffs hat to Nadal

In Shanghai, Novak Djokovic is on a mission to defend his Masters title this week but regaining the world No. 1 spot is not top of his agenda.

Rafael Nadal took over the top ranking Monday but Djokovic is philosophical about wrestling back top spot before the season is out.

"The rankings are there for a reason," Djokovic told the media in China.

"He has been playing some fantastic tennis since his comeback, and he deserves to be No. 1, definitely he's the most successful player this year.

Read: Nadal topples Djokovic

"I can affect only what I can affect, and that is to play the best tennis that I possibly can in the moment and to try to take one tournament at a time."

Momentum is in Djokovic's favor. The Australian Open champion defeated his Spanish rival at last week's China Open.

"I'm in a good place right now," the 26-year-old continued. "Something that makes me very happy is that I managed to regroup and mentally find my concentration and determination after the U.S. Open final loss against Nadal."

At the ATP event in Shanghai, heavy rain forced Tuesday's round of matches to be moved indoors.

Once under the roof, French ninth seed Richard Gasquet was knocked out by Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-3 6-4.

Australian wildcard Lleyton Hewitt lost 6-4 6-2 to Italian Andreas Seppi, who goes up against fifth seed Roger Federer next.

The Swiss star is competing in his first event since the U.S. Open, and warned in Shanghai: "My game's been coming back."

The top eight seeds, which include Federer, Djokovic and Nadal, all have a bye into the second round.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
updated 9:14 PM EDT, Sun June 22, 2014
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
Rafael Nadal is still the "King of Clay" -- but his crown has slipped a bit, says CNN's Will Edmonds.
updated 3:46 AM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
updated 7:59 PM EDT, Mon May 5, 2014
British tennis player Elena Baltacha won 11 ITF Pro Circuit titles during her 16-year playing career.
The Ukrainian-born, British tennis star loses fight against liver cancer, just a few weeks after revealing that she was battling the disease.
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Tue April 29, 2014
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Suisse's Belinda Bencic returns the ball to France's Alize Cornet during the second match of the Fed Cup first round tennis tie France vs Switzerland on February 8, 2014 at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis."
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
updated 2:00 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain sails a boat during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.
updated 7:07 AM EDT, Fri March 21, 2014
Tennis star Venus Williams reveals how she is beating the autoimmune disease that derailed her career.
updated 5:14 AM EST, Wed March 5, 2014
After two decades dedicated to the game, Amelie Mauresmo wants a second life -- one away from tennis.
Rafael Nadal of Spain wipes his face after losing his men's final match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during day 14 of the 2014 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.
Almost five years to the day after reducing Roger Federer to tears at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal shed a few in his own loser's speech.
ADVERTISEMENT