Kimiko Date-Krumm may be the other side of 40, but she is set to finish yet another year inside the Top 100 and has no plans on hanging up the racquet just yet.
WTA Staff

At a time of the year when most tennis players are limbering up for pre-season training, the evergreen Kimiko Date-Krumm has only just hung up her racquets for the 2012 campaign.

And, if her form of late - three finals in her past three tournaments - is anything to go by, 2013 cannot come soon enough.

"I'm definitely coming back next year," Date-Krumm said. "This has been such an injury-filled year that I am glad I can sign off on a winning note."

This winning note came in Dubai, where the 42-year-old won the ITF $75K tournament, defeating Yulia Putintseva in the final.

By virtue of her victory in Dubai, and the points garnered at her runner up finishes at another ITF event in Toyota and the WTA $125 in Pune, Date-Krumm crept back into the Top 100 last Monday and now looks set to end the year there for a fourth consecutive year.

Despite turning 42 this September, Date-Krumm has lost none of her appetite for the game, as illustrated by her packed late-season schedule.

"Now I do not care about the result so much and just enjoy each match I have," she said. "But, it still feels great to win!"

While she may still enjoy the buzz of competition, one thing that is proving more of an annoyance is the questions. Or, to be precise, one question: the age question.

"In interviews, I always come across questions about my age," Date-Krumm added. "I've had it since I came back to the court four years ago, so now I've got used to it, but it's still a bit annoying - can't we just talk about the tennis!"

Despite the generation game she plays almost every time she steps on the court - in Dubai, her five victims were all born in the 1990s - Date-Krumm has found a way to relate to her younger opponents.

"I often chat with young players," she said. "I never ask how old they are. I ask them directly how old their mother is!

"They will usually say, 43 or 44, which is just the same as me. But the other day I chatted with a player and she said her mother is 37. We all laughed.

"To me, age is a just a number. I enjoy the time I spend on the court. I still play in the Grand Slams. I enjoy winning, and enjoy fighting on the match and hope to continue doing it as long as possible."