View Full Version : KIMIKO DATE returns to the WTA tour!

Sep 1st, 2002, 11:29 AM
I don't know if this means anything to you; but
it's means something special to some of us. :)

*Kimiko Date is set to return,and play her first
WTA event in 6 years from the time of her
retirement back in 1996.

She'll be playing Doubles, and will be teaming
up with Miho Saeki at this year's TOYOTA PRINCESS

*If you never seen her play, and think Kimiko is
just a earlier version of Ai Sugiyama- you are
waaay off. We're talking about a player that
Steffi Graf herself said she was shocked about
the early retirement because Kimiko could go
higher than number 4. Sugiyama is more
like the "8 track tape" to Kimiko's "DVD player" in terms
of charisma, all court game, mental toughness,
and grace.

Sep 1st, 2002, 11:30 AM
Good on you Kimiko!! Good Luck

Sep 1st, 2002, 11:41 AM

Sep 1st, 2002, 11:43 AM
I'm gonna follow that, believe me :) I'm not sure it's gonna be too great, after 6 years, but she's a talent worth watching :) Go Kimiko ! :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

Sep 1st, 2002, 11:45 AM
Hey, this is nice!

Mateo Mathieu
Sep 1st, 2002, 11:48 AM
WOW!! :eek:

Sep 1st, 2002, 11:53 AM
The raw talent that Kimiko had can't really be matched. It was truly ridiculous for her to retire just as she was reaching her peak! :(
Anyhow this is great! I don't ever feel Kimiko had a passion for the sport though.... so it is special to me that she has decided to give doubles a go! :)
(i never thought i would get the chance to say that!) ;)

Sep 1st, 2002, 11:54 AM
:eek: Good Luck!

Sep 1st, 2002, 12:04 PM
OMG, good luck Kimiko, I remeber your exciting days, one of the many reasons now I am following tennis so much, I remeber evreryday and saw you on th sports section in newspaper coz many asains were very proud of your feat

Sep 1st, 2002, 12:13 PM
Kimiko was a great talent. She just seemed to flow. Is this a one off apperence to boost ticket sales for the event or is she easing herself back into the tennis scene this way?

Sep 1st, 2002, 12:24 PM

I got the news off Kimiko's official website.
She made a "Big News" announcement from
New York(US OPEN) via e-mail. It's not something
the promotors of the event came up with.

Apparently she was suppose to play in the
exhibition match against Mary Jo Fernandez this
coming October at the invitation only THE AIG JAPAN
OPEN-featuring ASV, Leyton Hewitt, Juan Carlos Ferrero,
Carlos Moya. Kimiko's been training since April for
the AIG event;but decide to try a real WTA event instead.
She says in her website that this is something she wants
to do. She doesn't know if she could be great;but she
feels good about it.

Sep 1st, 2002, 12:32 PM
Thanks, Greenout. What I meant was is this the start of a comeback or is Kimiko just playing the tournament as a one off?

Sep 1st, 2002, 01:24 PM
OMG :eek: This is such a great news.... Kimiko is the most talented player Asia ever had :) It's so great that she is considering a comeback, even though only in double...

Good Luck Kimiko :)

Sep 1st, 2002, 01:32 PM
Excellent news :) I love Kimiko, she was a fantastic player and Im sure she still is ;)

I'll never forget when she wreaked havoc in January 1994 here in Oz....winning Sydney and reaching the SF of the Aussie Open! Definately retired too soon IMO.

Martian KC
Sep 1st, 2002, 01:34 PM
Great news! I hope to see her maybe in Australian Open doubles.;)

Sep 1st, 2002, 03:30 PM
I hope she will be back in singles too!

Sep 1st, 2002, 04:02 PM
Bringing a little bit of joy back to tennis. Go Kimiko! :D

Rising Sun
Sep 1st, 2002, 04:05 PM
Woohoo! :bounce:

It's a pity I wasn't really a fan during her peak. Hopefully she can cause some havoc in the doubles draw. ;)

Sep 1st, 2002, 04:15 PM
Wow. I'd love to see her playing a little singles too if shes up to it, wonder if she intends to do more than this one tourney? I always surprised she retired when she did...

Sep 1st, 2002, 04:22 PM
How old is Kimiko Date?

Sep 1st, 2002, 04:36 PM
:eek: :eek: :eek:

But training since April just for a doubles match? :confused: :confused:

Go Kimiko and try your luck in singles ;)

Sep 1st, 2002, 04:42 PM
:bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: WOW!!!!
These are wonderful news.SHe was one of my favourite players.I'm very happy about her.Welcome back,Kimiko!!!!!

Greenout could you post the link to her official site?Is it only in japanese or english too?THanks,anyway for bringing such good news.


Sep 1st, 2002, 04:46 PM
Count me in! Go Kimiko!

Sep 1st, 2002, 04:49 PM

Sep 1st, 2002, 04:52 PM
In case noone saw the earlier question how old is she?

Bit shocked to see her come back after 6 years off the tour!

Sep 1st, 2002, 04:53 PM
wow :eek: :D

Good luck Kimiko :)

She will be 32 this Sep.

Sep 1st, 2002, 05:05 PM
Oh- Here's the website.


*It's in Japanese. If you look under the diary
section she gives her e-mail for people to
chat with. :)

Sep 1st, 2002, 05:10 PM
Thanks a lot!

Brian Stewart
Sep 1st, 2002, 05:23 PM
This is great news. I liked Kimiko. From the way she stood at an angle on the baseline to return serves, to that short, semi-scoop forehand. (Plus, there's also the "babe factor".:)) She definitely retired way too soon. She might have won the '97 Australian Open had she stayed.

I remember her acting as a mentor to the other Japanese players, especially during Fed Cup. She'd find the restaraunts with Japanese food, and do everything she could to make them comfortable.

A couple of years ago, Martina Hingis was on the practice courts, looking for someone to hit with. She spotted what she thought was a junior player having a hit. So she sent her mom to ask if she'd like to hit with her. Melanie aranged it. This "junior" player more than held her own with Hingis. Martina thought "she's way too good to be a junior". It was only when she got closer that she recognized it was Kimiko. (Hmm. Melanie must have recognized Kimiko when she solicited her as a hitting partner. Funny she didn't mention it to Martina right away. :) Pretty sneaky.)

Sep 1st, 2002, 06:41 PM
Thanks Greenout for the link.

I just access Kimiko website. It's great website. There are a lot of her photos. And OMG, I really didn't know her husband isn't Japanese.

Anyway welcome back Kimiko Date.

Sep 1st, 2002, 06:51 PM
Hadn't her only playing been a clinic once a month up until April? I'm absolutely delighted to see her play, but is this for fun or is she a playing a limited schedule a la Martina Navratilova?

Cybelle Darkholme
Sep 1st, 2002, 06:56 PM

kimiko is still GORGEOUS her husband is dorky! Why couldn't she marry someone else :-(

Dawn Marie
Sep 1st, 2002, 07:08 PM
I have heard of her, but never saw her play.

I am curious to see this Kimiko.:) This is good news for the WTA tour.:)

Sep 1st, 2002, 08:34 PM
Kimiko was a really great player to watch, she worked angles around the court better than anyone. She retired just as she seem to be hitting her peak tennis wise. She beat Steffi Graf 7-6, 3-6, 12-10 in a fed cup match that was played in Tokyo in 1996, and she was the only one who took a set off Graf in the 1996 Wimbledon tournament. When Kimiko was in a groove with her groundstrokes she was flawless. I've missed seeing her play.

Here is an English website dedicated to Kimiko, it hasn't been updated for awhile but it has some of her results and some pics.


Sep 1st, 2002, 08:35 PM
Kojang, Kimiko was born 28/09/1970 so she's gonna be 32 soon :)

I think she's been a true Asian pride because she went further any other Asian has gone before (and sadly, after). Besides, she's a hot babe ;) :)

I'm excited to see her play again. :)

Oh, did you see that picture on her website, with Gaby ? Go to
http://www.kimiko-date.com/index2.html , then click on Photo Diary from US Open, then 30 August. :) Nice, hey ? :)

Sep 1st, 2002, 08:37 PM
Greenout, does she really chat with people ?

Sep 1st, 2002, 08:50 PM
That´s a fantastic story - I LOVED Kimiko in that Wimbledon match against Steffi - she also was one of the opponents in her farewell tour which led to Steffi falling down a temple and then the last matches against Gaby in Germany were cancellled

I think that coming back for doubles could be a promotion thing ; I remember that Saeki though as well came back after officially retiring and does quite well to remain a top200 player in singles

I think that a comeback in singles would cause more hype in Japan than this short message does ; I think that Kimiko never was a player to play more than just 12-14 events even in her best times and I doubt this would do her good ranking-wise and success-wise in singles.

But maybe she plans to promote the Asian part of the tour where we have 4 weeks of tennis to come with Bali, Shanghai and the 2 Tokyo events followed by 2 final events in the last weeks of the year.

If I consider her playing 1-2 Australian events together with the Pan Pacific and those 3-4 events in Asia in fall, this could very well be a nice comeback even at the age of 32.

What I would ask all of you is if you consider this a doubles-only comeback as I don´t remember her being that keen on doubles apart from FedCup !

Sep 1st, 2002, 09:52 PM
Yay! :bounce: she was so cool to watch, and really just coming into her best years when she retired. I'll always remember that match against Steffi in Wimbledon '96... Kimiko was up a set when there was a rain break, and she really was dominant until then, but Steffi was the better player after they came back.

Sep 1st, 2002, 10:42 PM
Kimiko hit the ball earlier than any woman I have ever seen. When she played against Graf in the semis at Wimbledon it was like the ball didn't even bounce before she hit her forehand.

Cybelle Darkholme
Sep 1st, 2002, 11:14 PM
Maybe Serena is paying homage to Kimiko's Pink Lady outfit with her new strawberry ice blouse....http://finland.co.jp/kimiko/pics/fccd70s.jpg

Sep 1st, 2002, 11:52 PM

Sep 2nd, 2002, 12:20 AM
Any info of her coming back in singles someday too ? So far I believe it´s a doubles-limited schedule and I very much doubt her playing more than the Tokyo based events ( 2 in fall, 1 in spring )

Sep 2nd, 2002, 01:24 AM
Well... when Kimiko was on still on tour, she didn't
play too many event. It was mainly Australia,
Tokyo, California hardcourts, Fed Cup, Grass in England,
1 clay tournament in Strasbourg, a couple of indoors
in Europe, the WTA championships, and all the grand
slams. If she does some doubles events out of
Tokyo;but only at selected tournaments- mainly the
ones listed above.

This is what I'm hoping for- Hee.

the Toyota Princess Cup-I hope she enjoys herself.

AIG Japan Open - Do that exhibition against Mary Jo
in Singles to keep that interest going.

Australia- I'm sure they would give her a WC in a doubles
event in any of the warm-ups prior to the AO 2002. Kimiko
use to do really well in the Gold Coast, and Sydney back
when some players didn't play the early season Australian

A.O 2002- I bet the tournament organizers would love
to see Kimiko in the draw for doubles. WC? No Problem.

Pan Pacific 2003- The tournament is celebrating it's 30th
anniversary, and according to their website loads of
special events are suppose to happen.

*That's as far in the future that I can hope for. Kimiko
didn't like travelling too much. So, I can't see her
straying too far from the Japan/California/Australia
Pacific Ocean airline transport zone.

Sam L
Sep 2nd, 2002, 01:40 AM
OMG! Welcome back Kimiko and good luck! :D

Sep 2nd, 2002, 04:24 AM
That is awesome news!

Welcome back Kimiko! :bounce:

Sep 2nd, 2002, 10:35 AM
Good to hear this great news!

Actually, I've never seen her play,.. so I'm anxious to watch some.

I visited her site, but she said that the matches in Toyota cup would be the last official match, so she asked her fans to come and cheer for her there. :sad:

And she also mentioned that she was trying her best to know her limit through the match play, but she can't train everyday as she needs to do something else like she should work in New York now. But she said as soon as she gets back home, she would prepare the event.

Hopefully, she may find herself too good to sit back in the Toyota cup, and changes her mind. :drool:


Sep 2nd, 2002, 10:43 AM
yes, hope she plays singles too!

Sep 2nd, 2002, 12:58 PM
she played before I got interested in tennis, so I never saw her play. but since then I came across her name many times. she's still only 32, she retired when she was 26! incredible. does anyone know why she officially retired so young?

Sep 2nd, 2002, 02:37 PM
Hey Beat,

I'm a big fan of Kimiko's. She along with Sabatini, and
Natasha Zvereva are the one's who sparked my interest
in really following women's tennis as oppose to just watching

I've worked with people from Japan, and I use to bring up
the question to them..."Why did Kimiko Date retire?". You
have to remember it was really shocking back in 1996 since
everyone saw her at WIMBLEDON about to take out Steffi
Graf until the rain delay happened, and the match re-started
the second day. That was what her so brilliant to watch-
she always came back in 3 setters, saved matched, forced
tie breaks.

Anyway, from what I read in the Western tennis media,
and the stories from Japan press plus views from Japanese
locals this is what I found out.

Kimiko Date said to the Japanese media that she didn't like
to travel, and the WTA were changing the ranking system
in a manner that would only help players who did alot of
tournaments. She went on to say that it doesn't reward the
player who actually wins matches or titles. Kimiko also admited
that the game was changing and she didn't think she could
compete with the bigger,stronger players. Mainly the likes of
* Lindsay Davenport, and Mary Pierce. She then went on discussing
the loss to Steffi at WIMBLEDON, which in her mind was the
best she could ever produce. Kimiko felt that there really is
nowhere to go after playing your best to Steffi, and failing while
losing to the big hitters.

So, that's the story. Nobody could convince her that she really
had more to offer. What I find really interesting is that the
following season 1997, Hingis took over and won the Australian
Open. The AO Open 1997 if Kimiko played it should've been her
grand slam. She always had a good record in Australia
.If you think about it ASV was in a slump, Monica wasn't
around too often, neither was Steffi, and Mary Pierce wasn't
trying. I have no doubt that Lindsay and Venus would make
their mark; but I think all the draws in the major tournaments
would've looked different. :) What if? It boggles the
mind doesn't it?

*She doesn't name "lindsay" , but it's pretty obvious,
since her win/loss record to LD is awful- not even 2 sets.

Sep 2nd, 2002, 02:45 PM
thanks a lot for the insightful infos, greenout.

Sep 2nd, 2002, 02:56 PM
Actually Kimiko had a pretty decent record against Lindsey Davenport:

1993 Tokyo Hard (O) QF Kimiko DATE 6-2 6-4
1995 Sydney Hard (O) SF Lindsay DAVENPORT 4-6 1-4 Retired
1995 Tokyo Carpet (I) FR Kimiko DATE 6-1 6-2
1995 Strasbourg Clay (O) FR Lindsay DAVENPORT 6-3 1-6 2-6
1995 French Open Clay (O) 16 Kimiko DATE 6-4 6-3
1996 Sydney Hard (O) SF Lindsay DAVENPORT 2-6 6-4 5-7
1996 French Open Clay (O) 16 Lindsay DAVENPORT 6-3 4-6 6-8
1996 Fed Cup (WG-SF) Carpet (I) R1 Lindsay DAVENPORT 2-6 1-6

Sep 2nd, 2002, 03:30 PM
Thanks, Darutt- the win/loss record doesn't seem
as bad as my memory served me. The one that sticks
into my mind is FED CUP 1996. The USA went
on to win that tie, and beat Spain in the finals.
It's kind of sad; but I think they(Japan) were really
humilated at the loss, especially when the event
was played in Nagoya, Japan. It's also quite a pity
that this was the best result the Japanese Fed Cup
team had ever produced. Look at them now. :(
Default to Columbia?

Oh well.

Sep 2nd, 2002, 04:14 PM
Originally posted by lin
She will be 32 this Sep.

:eek: What an early retirement!! at 1996, she is 26...
Els Callens is 32 too right?

Sep 3rd, 2002, 01:06 PM
Originally posted by Greenout
*If you never seen her play, and think Kimiko is
just a earlier version of Ai Sugiyama- you are
waaay off. We're talking about a player that
Steffi Graf herself said she was shocked about
the early retirement because Kimiko could go
higher than number 4. Sugiyama is more
like the "8 track tape" to Kimiko's "DVD player" in terms
of charisma, all court game, mental toughness,
and grace.

A love the analogy dvdv/8-track comparison!!! :D So true in ever regard!

I was so happy when Tennisweek printed my tribute letter to Kimiko in honor of her retirement. I miss her speed, all court game and brains though I'm sure Conchita Martinez doesn't, hehe. ;)

Sep 3rd, 2002, 01:21 PM
Can anyone remeber her Fed Cup match against Steffi, in which Kimiko won. Oh mine, Steffi was so overpowering her but she fights for every single point until she win 13-11 or soemthign I think. I saw that match a while ago and it is easily the most memorable match I have seen

Sep 3rd, 2002, 01:21 PM
OMG :eek:

Kimiko was such a great player...

She's all Asian tennis aspiration :) :)