Kimiko Date is calling it a career at 46, officially retiring from the WTA tour following a first-round appearance at her home event in Tokyo.
The former Grand Slam semifinalist from Japan was defeated, 6-0, 6-0, by Alexandra Krunic. Date, who returned this season from two knee surgeries in 2016, had previously announced her intention to retire at this event, citing the effects of injury.
Organizers held a retirement ceremony for her on court in Tokyo.
"I felt the weight of every point," she was quoted as saying. "I had my first career in the '90s and [having retired for] 12 years I came back. I’m so happy I was able to play for so long."
Date reached a career-high of No. 4 before retiring in 1996, then returned and became the second-oldest winner of a WTA title in 1999 and reached No. 46 in the rankings in 2010.
Significantly older than most of the other players on the WTA tour, Date was a popular and inspirational presence during the second part of her career.
伊達さん、たくさんの感動を本当にありがとうございました！— 尾崎里紗/Risa Ozaki (@ozarisa7) September 12, 2017
Thank you very much Ms. Date! https://t.co/vYvCs0scW8
Not many souls like Kimiko out there in tennis world and I was so lucky to meet you and know you well Thanks for everything and congrats pic.twitter.com/IN5uFm8KUh— Andrea Hlavackova (@AndreaHlavackov) September 12, 2017
Congratulations Kimiko on such an amazing career. One of the most respected and loved players on the WTA tour. We'll miss you! https://t.co/2Ntq6IpUSO— Naomi Broady (@NaomiBroady) September 12, 2017
Congrats to my friend Kimiko for an outstanding career. I ll miss you https://t.co/iIvWysq8Un— mandy minella (@mandyminella) September 12, 2017
Date holds the record for the highest ranking achieved by a female player from Japan.
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