Monday, September 27, 2010
How dare she.
Kimiko Date Krumm, the now 40-year old lady baller (this is based on Tokyo time - Happy Birthday Kimi!), grabbed her fifth Top 20 scalp of the season this time off the multi-million dollar head of defending champ Maria Sharapova who she upset 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 in the first round of Tokyo. It's like she doesn't realize she started playing before some of the WTA pros started breathing. What's more, Kimi isn't phased by all this talk of power in the ladies' game and how it's changed the game for better or worse. Her response seems to be, "Who the hell needs it?"
The ladies can hit powerfully and the game has become more physical but the newbies and oldbies can still hang. That's not a knock on the WTA tour, though, or a reference to the perceived lack of depth or mental toughness amongst the lady ballers. See, what's so awesome about Kimi's recent achievements is she has given old-school tennis a small, but very effective, place in the modern game.
Of course, supreme fitness - which was born during The Age of Williams - has been key to her big wins this year including on the red clay of Roland Garros against Dinara Safina and against Shrieka, who reacted to the loss by saying, "It takes a lot to come back and Kimiko is extremely fit." Take that fitness, then, and mix in a dash of savvy court sense, an ability to close at the net and a big heart and you've got win.
Let's be real, though: Kimi's not winning any Slams. We all know it. But could a development coach or an aspiring mom or dad coach learn a few winning strategies from a 40-year old with the gall to brandish a continental forehand in a world of westerns? Well, duh. Kimi obviously has tons to teach them.
[Photo(s): Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images]