Updated: 06/24/2014 03:23 | By Agence France-Presse

Date-Krumm, 43, won't rule out Wimbledon return

Kimiko Date-Krumm refused to rule out returning to Wimbledon next year after the Japanese veteran suffered a frustrating first round exit on Monday.

Date-Krumm, 43, won't rule out Wimbledon return

Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm returns against Russia's Ekaterina Makarova during their women's singles first round match on day one of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships, on June 23, 2014 - by Andrew Cowie

At 43, Date-Krumm is the oldest player on the women's tour and the 25th anniversary of her first appearance at Wimbledon in 1989 ended in a 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 defeat against Russian 22nd seed Ekaterina Makarova.

Date-Krumm, once ranked fourth in the world, reached the semi-finals in 1996 before retiring a few months later to spend more time with her husband, the German racing driver Michael Krumm.

She eventually returned to the sport 12 years later and has continued to use her wealth of experience to good effect against far younger opponents.

It looked like she might claim another impressive scalp when she took the first set against Makarova, but the 26-year-old -- who was just one when Date-Krumm first played at Wimbledon -- hit back strongly, eventually taking advantage of her fresher legs to win a gruelling match that lasted over two and a half hours in sweltering heat.

Date-Krumm has now lost in the first round of her last four Grand Slam appearances, but the world number 78 won't completely rule out at least one more appearance at the All England Club in 12 months' time.

"I don't know. It's the most difficult question for me. Every year when I play here, maybe I don't come back next year," she said.

"But already I came back five or six times, so it's very difficult. Then today I played not so bad. She's top 20 and she is tough player, big fighter. If I lose 6-1, 6-2 or something like that then I need to give up.

"But still I almost beat her and then my physical level also is still not bad for 43 years old.

"Of course if my ranking drops to 150 or 200 there's no chance I will be back.

"But I'm still fighting and most important I'm still enjoying myself. If I have chance to come back next year, I'm here. Maybe!"

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