Cape Town - Veteran Japanese tennis player Kimiko Date-Krumm, who turns 46 next week, is planning a return to playing in 2017 after being on the mend from knee surgery she had in April.
Date-Krumm, who reached the singles semi-finals of the 1994 Australian Open, 1995 French Open and 1996 Wimbledon grand slam tournaments having won eight WTA titles including winning the Japan Open four times, initially retired in September 1996 after the Olympic Games.
She made a return to playing in April 2008 and has since won nine ITF titles and became the oldest player to win a WTA title in 2009 when claiming the Hansol Korea Open in Seoul.
In 2014, she proved just how competitive she still is by reaching the semi-finals of the women's doubles at the US Open partnered with Czech Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová, losing to eventual tournament winners, Russian duo Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in straight sets.
The veteran told reporters in Tokyo, her second surgical procedure on her troublesome left knee that she planned on playing again on the WTA tour in 2017.
"I have been told it will take a year (to fully recover from the operation) and it's just a case of how much more or less time it will be than that," Date-Krumm said.
"Everything has gone well up to this point and it has not put limitations on my daily life. As an athlete, you have to condition muscles and I want the injury to properly heal."