Kimiko Date says she wants to play WTA tournaments again, returning to the pro tour at 46 years old following knee surgery.

She is scheduled to come back at an ITF event in Japan in a few weeks.

"Everyone just assumed I’d quietly retire when I got injured," she told AFP.

"But I didn’t want to just quit because I was hurt. I used it as motivation."

Date had stated her intention to return when she got injured, with the former No. 5 having established her reputation for comebacks by resuming play following a 12-year retirement which began in 1996.

"The nineties was my first career, then I came back and that was my second. This is like my third time around but I know it won’t be easy," she said.

"But I’m not putting pressure on myself. I’m honestly not thinking about breaking records. I just want to fight my way back to playing tour level tennis again."

Date has not made any retirement plans, saying she wants to play until she is "content" with her career.

She will have a protected ranking of No. 193 upon her return to tour.