Grin­ham takes it in her stride

NT News - - SPORT - GREY MOR­RIS

RACHAEL Grin­ham has seen a lot of great play­ers and squash courts in her 35 years as a player.

The 2007 world cham­pion and four-time Bri­tish Open cham­pion is in Dar­win for this week’s Aus­tralian Open, Grin­ham won the world ju­nior ti­tle as a 16-year-old in 1993.

The top seed in the Aus­tralian Open at the Mar­rara Squash Cen­tre, 40-year-old Grin­ham is tak­ing noth­ing for granted.

Iron­i­cally, her sec­ond round op­po­nent is likely to be Dar­win’s Jes­sica Os­borne, in only her sec­ond pro­fes­sional tour­na­ment at 18.

“I’m up here to do as well as I can in the Aus­tralian Open, but there are a lot of qual­ity play­ers in the com­pe­ti­tion and it won’t be easy,’’ Grin­ham said when asked if she was in Dar­win to win the ti­tle.

“The fa­cil­i­ties here in Dar­win are the best I’ve seen in the coun­try, so hope­fully I can get a bit of suc­cess.’’

Grin­ham has walked and hit balls on squash courts in Aus­tralia and around the world since she could walk.

“There’s been a lot of changes, in­clud­ing the scor­ing sys­tem and I can even re­mem­ber when they used to have two serves,’’ she laughed.

Grin­ham has put a cir­cle around the 2018 Com­mon­wealth Games on the Gold Coast as de­ci­sion time on her ca­reer.

“I’m still a favourite to win a dou­bles medal af­ter win­ning a cou­ple of gold medals in dou­bles and sil­ver and bronze in sin­gles,” she said.

“I won’t have any real goals af­ter the Games, it will de­pend on where life is tak­ing me be­cause I still en­joy trav­el­ling around and play­ing squash – maybe I’ll go to events in places I want to see.”

Grin­ham said the game in Aus­tralia was mov­ing into an up­ward spi­ral af­ter a num­bers drop-off in re­cent years.

“It’s on the rise again, which is good be­cause we don’t have the same depth, the com­pe­ti­tion is dy­ing a lit­tle and that af­fects the stan­dard you want to get to,” she said.

“On top of that in other places in the world the sport is boom­ing, es­pe­cially in places like Egypt that is pro­duc­ing ju­niors at 15 who are beat­ing top rated play­ers.

“Europe is go­ing well and Eng­land in the last 10 to 15 years, while France is strong and even in the US they’re get­ting stronger in the uni­ver­si­ties.’’

Pic­ture: SQUASH AUS­TRALIA

Rachael is top seed for the Aus­tralian Open tak­ing place in Dar­win

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