The 2012 Australian Open in Canberra was boosted even further on the weekend with news that former champion Rachael Grinham and world number two Jenny Duncalf of England have entered the women’s tournament.
The 35-year-old Grinham, from the Queensland city of Toowoomba, won the Australian Open when it was held in Melbourne in 2005 and was a semi-finalist in Canberra the last two years.
A former number one who is currently ranked ninth in the world, Grinham is considered one of the greatest players the country has ever produced.
She won the World Open in 2007, is a Commonwealth Games gold medallist and has been British Open champion on four occasions.
Grinham’s entry means there are now four former champions in the field, with Kasey Brown (2006), Joelle King (2009) and Madeline Perry (2010) also entered.
Duncalf, 29, was runner-up to world number one Nicol David in 2011 and was a semi-finalist the year before, when she lost to Perry in a four-game classic.
Tournament director Gary Hampson said he was delighted at the strength of the women’s draw with three weeks still remaining until entries closed.
“Rachael and Jenny are wonderful players and have entertained Australian squash fans enormously in Canberra over the past two years,” he said.
“Rachael is an ornament to the game and a worthy successor to Michelle Martin and Sarah Fitz-Gerald in the production line of Australian squash champions.”
Also signing on for the 2012 tournament was New Zealand world number 18 Jaclyn Hawkes, a semi-finalist in 2008.
The Australian Open will be held on the all-glass court at Canberra’s Royal Theatre from August 13-19.