February 20, 2024

Open Court

MORE TENNIS THAN YOU'LL EVER NEED

Kimiko Date calls it a career

NEW YORK – Most athletic careers end while the spirit is still willing, but the flesh is too weak to keep up.

And so it went for Kimiko Date, who turns 47 next month but whose valiant attempt to return once again after knee cartilage transplant surgery fell short.

Her finale will be at the Japan Women’s Open in Tokyo in a few weeks.

When Date returned from the knee surgery a few months ago, it was an old shoulder injury that acted up. The knee didn’t hurt, but she said she didn’t feel 100 per cent confident about moving. Then there was a biceps issue.

Ultimately, the priority during practices was about her physical state, rather than her tennis game. She said she was proud that she could come back from the knee surgery, but realized during some ITF matches on the California circuit last month that she wasn’t close to her previous level.

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