Grinham keeps going for the 'love of the sport'

Rachael Grinham is in the twilight of her career, but the joy of playing is still bright enough to keep the former world No. 1 on the international circuit.

Grinham, now ranked No. 9, is in Canberra for the Australian Squash Open, which starts tomorrow.

Many world-class athletes opt to retire when they start to lose their grip on the top of the tree, but Grinham just loves competing.

Plus the 35-year-old wasn't sure what she'd do if she did pull the pin on her decorated career that took her to the pinnacle of women's squash for 16 months about seven years ago.

She's also a Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

"I think I have a different mentality to a lot of players, obviously there's a lot of players who don't like it if they've gotten to No. 1 and been the best and undefeated then they don't like to be defeated after that, they'd rather just stop," Grinham told The Canberra Times.


"But I'm not like that at all, I play because I love it and I still enjoy the challenge.

"It's just about enjoying myself, I just love playing and want to keep playing as long as I can.

"That's the other thing, I have no clue about what else I could do, I'm just treading water still playing squash while I try and work out what else I can do with myself."

Grinham won the Open in 2005, but it's only been in the last couple of years that? the tournament has started to attract the world's top players again.

In those two years she has made the semi-finals on both occasions, but she's set herself a more modest goal of making the quarter-finals.

It's something she has managed three times already this year – finishing runner-up in the Buler Challenge Cup in Hong Kong, and making the quarters of Malaysia's KL Open and the Tournament of Champions in the United States.

"I'm just trying to enjoy it and just get the best results I can," Grinham said.

"Obviously winning the Australian Open would be an amazing result because for a start you've got to beat [world No.1] Nicol David to get there.

"Going on my form for the last 12 months or so I probably average around quarter-finals in a major event, that's kind of my goal here."

She is back living in Queensland, but spent about eight years based in Cairo, Egypt, before that.

?Grinham only planned to stay a few weeks in Africa but eight years later she still hadn't left. ?

?Grinham's first round match is against South Africa's Siyoli Waters at the National Convention Centre on Wednesday at 1.30pm.


Begins tomorrow at the National Convention Centre and Woden Squash Centre.