When 42 year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm hit the court at Wimbledon, by most media accounts, she didn’t give 31-year-old Serena Williams much of a match, but she made her mark. Date-Krumm raced around the court like a youngster, won the hearts of people watching and stole Serena’s serve from her once. Date-Krumm lost 6-2, 6-0, but Serena beat people half that age by the same score.
And this 42-year-old earned her way onto that court. Earned it by beating a lot of young players to get there.
Age is just a number at Wimbledon — well anywhere. According to an Associated Press article, nine of the 32 players remaining for the second week of Wimbledon are 30+
Consider this from KansasCity.com:
“As of this week, the average age of the top 20 players on the men’s tour is 27 years, 260 days – more than 2 1/2 years older than it was 10 years ago, according to STATS Inc. And on the women’s tour over the last 10 years, the average age has spiked by almost exactly two years – to 26 years, 213 days.
Players such as 31-year-old Li Na, 31-year-old Mikhail Youzhny, 31-year-old David Ferrer and 35-year-old Tommy Haas – all of them preparing for Monday matches at Wimbledon – contribute to those numbers.”
Williams is the oldest woman to reach No. 1, at age 31, the article notes. And she shows no signs of slowing down.
But the youngsters are also doing well. Britain’s 19-year-old Laura Robson made a huge comeback in her last match to give her country a man and woman in the round of 16 for the first time in decades.
And American 20-year-old Sloane Stephens is hanging tough. She is picked by some commentators to hit the final — what could be an all-American final if Stephens faces Williams. And Stephens beat Williams in their last encounter at the Australian Open in January.
More than a decade ago, it was a young Serena Williams hoisting that trophy. Who would have guessed that she’d be better than ever at 31 and who knows — she might still be racing around the grass at 42.
Pam Parker, a tennis player for 40 years, is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three and stepmom to three.