Just out of curiousity, was she pregnant? or injured, cause she played her last match in 1996 and she got to the Wimbledon Semifinals during that year. She looked as if she would be Top 10 for quite a while, what happened?
Apr 4th, 2004, 03:50 PM
She retired because she felt she'd achieved as much as she possibly could have and wanted to get married. Her interest in tennis as a professional had ended. A pity because I believe she could have won a major.
Apr 4th, 2004, 03:57 PM
She thought she'd achieved as much as she could have? Not very ambitious then! What a shame.
I wouldnt think marriage would be a hindrance. Theres quite a few active players who are married, including the current #1.
Apr 4th, 2004, 03:59 PM
The main reason for her retirement was the change WTA made in its ranking system. Kimiko thought the new system would disadtange her as she would usually play less than 14 events a year. Yeah it was a big shame she made that decision just because of her ranking status. Actually she got injured a lot in her final year and most of the time she was playing thru injuries here and there. I have never been more disappointed then the moment that I heard her retirement.
Apr 4th, 2004, 04:07 PM
Marriage had nothing to do with her decision to retire. She was going out with a football player from Brazil who was playing in Japan's football league then if I remember correctly. But she never mentioned marriage as the reason for her retirement. In fact she broke up with him and it was only a few years ago that she married a German Formura I driver.
In a recent TV documentary about her life where she was invited as a guest, she confessed she wasn't that comfortable playing overseas day in day out. Language wasn't her thing and she loved Japanese food and missed home a lot. Plus, she had a lot of injuries which quickened her mental burn out. She said she was playing just to fullfill her goal which was to enjoy playing tennis. She wasn't giving a damn about her results but what she cared about most was whether she was playing the kind of tennis which would satisfy her. After losing a few matches to her fellow Japanese players (Sawamatsu, Endo) the previous year, she realized she had forgotten the roots of her tennis career and those losses opened up eyes and her breakthrough in 1996 came only after the realization. I think she could have won a major had she continued a few more years. Cuz she was definitely at her peak then. I mean, of course it's hard to imagine her winning a major beating Hingis to whom she had lost her final professional match.
Apr 6th, 2004, 10:21 AM
i miss kimiko ~ she was an elegant player
Apr 6th, 2004, 10:39 AM
Great answers Gogomaggie. Kimiko loved playing her hardcourt
events in Australia and in the USA. She wasn't that keen on doing
the Euro indoor winter season tour, which with the new changes of
ranking format for 1997 would've forced her to deal with. I also
recall hearing about how she thought the game was changing toward
more power, and physical abilities over finesse.
Steff herself said that she felt that Kimiko was on the verge of a
Apr 6th, 2004, 10:55 AM
It's not THAT unimaginable that she would've beaten Hingis to win a major. She did beat Hingis at the Olympics... I think... maybe it was another Japanese player. Anyways, it was either Kimiko or Ai, sorry to be so vague.
Apr 6th, 2004, 11:50 AM
Kimiko didn't beat Hingis at the Olympics. I think it was Sawamatsu.
I read an article about Kimiko's retirement in Tennis Magazine, which mentioned marriage. Maybe it was speculation on the writer's part.
Apr 6th, 2004, 12:05 PM
Kimiko was great, she always had nice matches. Her style was sometimes not that enjoyable to watch IMO, but she was a great player and deserves the hings she achieved. She played a dioubles event in 2002 I think at Tokio.
Apr 6th, 2004, 12:18 PM
It was Ai who beat Hingis 4 and 4 in Atlanta '96.
And yes, Kimiko did play doubles at the Princess Cup back in '02, but pulled out.
I always thought Kimiko had the weapons to take her rankings further up.
Y'know, it frustrates me to think how much more she could've achieved if she had played more professional matches in her career. Besides Ai, nearly all Japanese players severely restrict their schedules for various reasons and it's really putting a big dent in their rise to the top. We've seen it with Shinobu and Naoko, and we've definately seen it with Kimiko (although I didn't think she was weak on indoor carpet at all!).
The fact that Kimiko's made it to no.4 with the schedule she's had shows just how much potential she had. I'm not making any guarantees that had she played more p.year, she'd automatically be assured a GS Champion's trophy - but at least she'd have a bigger shot at getting one.
Also, IMO, she's (and Japanese players for that matter) so inconsistent b/c of the lack of match play. How can you expect to maintain your strong form if you don't keep letting your body get used to improving by playing lots of matches? OK, Kimiko's had her fair share of injuries and mental lapses, but so have many other GS champions.
It really is a shame to lose Japan's (and Asia) strongest candidate for its 1st GS champion :(