News from the Player: Rachael Grinham

Playing on the very same court where she injured her ACL 18 months ago, Rachael Grinham marked her return to the PSA Tour at last week’s Australian Open at the age of 47.

The Australian’s incredible longevity in the game was further surmised by her first-round opponent on the day, Egypt’s Haya Ali, who was only four months old when Grinham first reached the summit of the women’s world rankings in August 2004 – a position that she would go on to hold for 16 consecutive months.

Ranking History from SquashInfo

Despite the match ending in defeat, Grinham was more than able to put up a fight against her teenage opponent, with the two-time Australian Open winner admitting her delight at competing on court once again.

“I wasn’t expecting to do much, to be honest,” she said. “It was my first match back post-ACL injury and my training hasn’t gotten me back to 100% fitness yet. I didn’t know how it was going to go and I was quite happy with the amount of points I did win and how I stuck in the rallies.

“Considering it was such a big event, I was just thrilled to get in it. Lots of Aussies come to watch it, so I’m happy I could get in it.”

Grinham has achieved almost all there is to achieve in the sport of squash, claiming 37 titles during her career and competing in 313 PSA Tour events to date – the most tournaments of any female player in the history of the game.

The Aussie admitted that she didn’t have any specific goals heading into the future and was instead looking to enjoy every game as it comes.

She said: “For me at the moment, coming back to play tournaments is all about enjoying my squash and being back on court. I’m coming in and not expecting to win, so when you’re the underdog you’re just coming on and just enjoying being there.

“Mentally, I was just happy to be back on court and enjoying my squash again.”

Last week was also an important landmark for Australian squash, with the Sydney-based City Tattersalls Group Australian Open 2024 being the biggest PSA event in the country since 2012. On the impact of the event, Grinham said:

“It’s massive. Even the last time we played a World Tour event here back in 2022, I think that was the biggest event we had had in quite a while, so that was great. Now that they have bumped it up to 50k, it’s massive, and I can’t remember the last time the Australian Open was that big and we had such good players coming to play here.”

Despite spending a year-and-a-half away from tour, Grinham admitted that this time has flown by, with her and her partner, former World No.2 Jenny Duncalf, starting a family last year with the arrival of their first child, Finley.

She said: “We have had a baby, so that and my rehab are why I’ve had a delay returning to tour. I’m still working myself up to 100% fitness because I have kind of been occupied with a new little human.

“It’s been wonderful and a great experience.”

Looking ahead to the future, Grinham added:

“I don’t really know what my plans are to be honest. “We have the little guy, so I’m not sure how things are going to go. Jenny works as a coach for Squash Australia, so she tends to travel to all of the events to watch players and I sort of go along anyway.

‘I’m kind of aiming to maybe play in some of these tournaments at the same time, but I also just want to get back to playing at a 100% fitness. I’m going to try and still enjoy playing some matches and pushing our top girls.”