November 22, 1996
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
Q. How was your very last game? Did you enjoy, as you said?
KIMIKO DATE: I was emotionally enjoying the game, but Hingis had so much power, she had so many aces and I was kind of overwhelmed by those, but -- so the content was not really satisfactory, but I really -- I think I could play and enjoy it.
Q. Was there anything you could have done differently tonight to change the outcome or was Martina simply playing so well that there wasn't anything you could do?
KIMIKO DATE: Martina is a very good, very exciting young player, and also she plays very well today. And as for me, after September I was so relaxed mentally, but I knew that my physical strength was going down. Talking about today's match, I knew that I couldn't move as fast as I used to, but I still tried my best. But if I compare myself to before, it's true that I couldn't move as fast as I used to. So there was nothing I could do. I couldn't help it.
Q. Martina said that she thinks Kimiko may have felt pressure to produce her best, knowing it was her last tournament. Does she agree with that and also is she relieved at having everything be over?
KIMIKO DATE: To be honest, I didn't have any pressures at all. And I was very relaxed before I left Tokyo to head for New York. And also since I got here I have been so relaxed and I just try to enjoy the practice time and also I could do, I actually did enjoy it. So I'm kind of surprised that she felt that way, that I had the pressure during the match. Talking about whether I was relieved or not, I actually don't feel that relieved, but all I can feel is that I completed everything.
Q. You are waving good-bye to the audience for a long, long time, what came up on your mind?
KIMIKO DATE: I didn't notice that I was waving my hand saying good-bye to all the spectators, I really didn't notice that was long, but I was just happy that I could be on the court at the year ending, last tournament in the top 16 and also this is just the beginning of my second stage of my life. And when I look back on my tennis career it seemed like very long, but at the same time I feel that was pretty short, I feel both ways.
Q. Kimiko, are you happy that it's all over or a little sad?
KIMIKO DATE: I don't have any sad feeling, at all, because I'm free from everything and I just want -- I just look forward to many things that I want to try and I just look forward to the future.
Q. Will you miss anything about the Tour?
KIMIKO DATE: I have played tennis because I love tennis so much, but to name some of the things that I might miss is that playing under the big pressure and also traveling a lot, like visiting many countries. And also I won't be able to see the friends that I made during my career. But still I look forward to my future life, so that feeling is much bigger than the feeling that I might miss tennis.
Q. Do you want to remain a part of tennis in other areas?
KIMIKO DATE: Of course I still want to play tennis just for fun and if it's possible I want to have that fun time with my friends, but just for fun and nothing more than that, just for fun.
Q. Did you talk to your family and what did they say to you?
KIMIKO DATE: My parents said -- I told my parents after I decided, after I was really sure, then they just replied that they understood completely, but they were just curious about what I was going to do. That was the only thing they asked. But they didn't stop me -- they didn't stop me to retire.
KIMIKO DATE: Very much so.
Q. Kimiko, the other night you mentioned that one of the highlights of your career was your match against Steffi Graf at Wimbledon, the two day match. Can you talk a little bit about why that was so special?
KIMIKO DATE: I went to Wimbledon when I was junior for the first time and I used to watch Wimbledon through the TV when I was small. And I used to think that playing at Wimbledon is happening some different world, not in my world and I never thought -- I never thought of playing there. But since I turned pro, in the last year as my tennis career and I could play the No. 1 player, Graf, and also I could play one of my best. And I was really convinced of my play, that's why I still remember that strongly.
Q. In one other match, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario at the Toshiba Classic, what did that mean to win there?
KIMIKO DATE: Actually, I was not in good form before the tournament started, but as the run went by and I was returning to my normal form. And looking back then I was becoming sure about my retirement at that time. Then after that week I lost in the first round of U.S. Open but still that Toshiba was a big tournament and I was happy that I could win the big tournament, also my opponent was top player, Arantxa, so I was very happy. Probably I think I was so relaxed because I was already determined to retire. I think that feeling made me feel very relaxed in the tournament.
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