Kimiko Date's peers weigh in on the 46-year-old's retirement

by: Kamakshi Tandon | September 13, 2017

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Kimiko Date played her final professional match on September 12. (AP)

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.

Date holds the record for the highest ranking achieved by a female player from Japan.

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