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June 22, 2011

Kimiko Date Krumm


V. WILLIAMS/K. Date-Krumm
6-7, 6-3, 8-6


Q. Do you think that's the best you've played in this comeback time?
KIMIKO DATE-KRUMM: Yes. Today I play very good because in the clay court season I was very bad, not good season. And after, when I came to grass court season, then I feel much more better than clay court.
I think today it was good fight for me. Of course, very, very disappointed. It was very close. But most important, I played it's my tennis and then I can fight with Venus also. She's a five-time champion here. Then she's a great player. So I can fight with her. So it was very, very good match for me.

Q. Have you given yourself a certain length of time to fulfill some ambitions you may have? If so, was today a great encouragement for you to carry on a little longer to see what you can achieve? Do you have a time scale for how long you play on in tennis? Will today's performance encourage you to play a little longer?
KIMIKO DATE-KRUMM: I'm just focus to today, this match. She's a great player. Then I just concentrated on the match. I tried to put my first serves in, most important. Otherwise she attack very hard, very quickly.
So after I played here on the Centre Court in 1996, and then in the quarterfinal I beat Mary Pierce, then in the semifinal I played Steffi Graf in two days because of the darkness.
Then after 15 years I come back on Centre Court with roof. Was very, very happy to hear. Then I played a great match. So I'm very happy even I lost, yeah, uh-huh.

Q. How hard do you have to work on your fitness now? How much harder do you have to work than you used to have to work?
KIMIKO DATE-KRUMM: Yeah, it's very, very difficult. Still I don't know what can I do. But if I do too much, practice too much, exercise, I feel tired. For example, Grand Slam is two weeks. We need to play almost every day - if I play doubles - almost every day. So it's very, very tough. Always I'm thinking about to recover the body. This is most difficult for my age, for my case also.
So sometimes I practice two times a day, and sometimes I try to weight training because after age getting 30, 40, it's easy to lose the muscle. So not try to get more big muscle; try to not lose the muscle, try to keep my muscle.
So I don't know so much weight training. And when I have time, for example in the wintertime, I do interval training because I need more speed, sprint. Because after when I stop tennis, I never do sprints training, of course. So I need the sprint training and interval training.
Maybe I have more stamina than before compared to when I was young. I did the marathon in 2004. I finished in under 3:27 in London 2004. So I think I have more stamina now. But I need more sprint. For example, 200 meter, 300 meter, 400 meter. Always tennis is after point quickly heart rate must go down and then play again. So it is very difficult. So I do interval training when I have time.

Q. Why do you think Venus was able to win today?
KIMIKO DATE-KRUMM: Yes, of course, she knows how to win, how to play very close the match.
Always she feel pressure or she doesn't want to lose the point. Always she concentrate through focus. Was first service in. Not only speed, it's on the corner. So it was very, very difficult to break her serve for me.
And, uhm, of course compared to her best condition, I think little bit she need to use some more matches. But she play I think it was good, yeah. She's a great player. She's very clever, she smart. For example, when she toss up the serve, then she always watching where I move to, backhand or forehand. She just toss up, and then she watching where I'm standing, the return positions, I think.
So she's very clever. Mentally also is very strong. Most key point, most important point, she never mistake.

Q. What do you think her chances are to win the tournament, even though she missed so much time before the tournament?
KIMIKO DATE-KRUMM: It's difficult. But, of course, she has a big chance because she knows how to play on the grass. But she had a short break this season, so she need little bit more time. So I don't know.
Sometime goes good way. Sometimes depends on the match, depends on the opponent. Every matches, I think she get confidence after when she win or something. She play very good, good day, and then I think she get the confidence more easily than other player, so...

Q. Were you tired today?
KIMIKO DATE-KRUMM: Of course (laughter). I felt in the second set, beginning of the second set, I think my body is heavy. But after that I come back. Then, yeah, it was tired. But, you know, I'm still okay (smiling). Maybe tomorrow it's a problem.

Q. Today's women's tennis is all about power. Your style is more subtle and sweet. The crowd loved it. Do you think your style could make a comeback in the future?
KIMIKO DATE-KRUMM: Yeah, I like Martina Navratilova style. And, of course, for example, Steffi also could hit the backhand slice or power and she can play some more different things. She can hit the backhand slice down the line or cross. So she can mix.
So it's just my generation also. I always watching Martina and Steffi, the more different type. Sabatini is also a more different type. But now many powerful players, speedy tennis, playing everybody like that.
But I continue my style. I like especially on the grass when I can enjoy net play, sometimes try to serve and volley, approach and volley. I think it's good for grass.

Q. Would you advise young players to play like you?
KIMIKO DATE-KRUMM: Yeah, young player didn't practice not so much volley. For example, when I practice with young player, then they just finish one minutes, two minutes, and they finish.
So if they practice more volley, and then tennis is changing more powerful and net play. So I think it's more interesting.

Q. What do you think of Li Na's victory at the French Open? What do you think the importance is worldwide and to Asia?
KIMIKO DATE-KRUMM: Yeah, of course it's big success. It's very big, important win for Asia. For China also it's big, big importance because long time ago, '80s, '90s, always tennis is impossible to be win the Grand Slam from Asia. Everybody think like that.
But now she did. So dreams come true. And then if somebody can win, then, for example, junior, young player, everybody think, Oh, from Asia also possible to win the Grand Slam, even clay court. For us clay court is most difficult because we don't have not so many clay court in Asia. So not used to play on the clay court.
So I think it was very, very important for us.

Q. What was it like to play under the roof? Does it change anything? Did you like it?
KIMIKO DATE-KRUMM: Yeah, I like indoor courts. I can more concentrate and focus the match. I don't need to worry about the rain coming or not. So more easy to concentrate.
In '96, we didn't have a roof. So in '90s if we have roof, I was thinking it was more to beat Steffi if I don't play two days. But today I play very good, very bright. Little bit I can hear the sound from the rain. But it was beautiful court, beautiful roof. It was a very good feeling for me.

Q. What ambitions do you still have in tennis as a player? What do you want to achieve from tennis now that you've come back?
KIMIKO DATE-KRUMM: After when I stop tennis, I didn't play not so much. Just did some different sports, exercise. Every year I come here for commentary, so always I'm watching from the outside tennis.
It was in '90s when I was playing. It was difficult for me mentally because not so many Asian player. I was first player to be top-10 player, so I felt lot of pressure from the outside. I couldn't enjoy on the tour. Yeah, I didn't enjoy the tour.

Q. Do you enjoy it now?
KIMIKO DATE-KRUMM: Yeah, I enjoy more on the tour and am able to do some tournaments. But I can still enjoy to play tennis.

Q. Do you ever regret you left the game in view of how well you can play the game? Do you think you should have stayed a little longer in the game, maybe you would have a few Grand Slams?
KIMIKO DATE-KRUMM: Actually, I can enjoy to play tennis, maybe I continue to play tennis. And I don't know how long I can play more. I don't know. But hopefully.

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