Grainger Steps Down From WISPA Tour
fans around the world are sad to see US number one
Natalie Grainger has decided to bring to an end a
distinguished career lasting 14 "glittering" years at the
top of her sport.
Grainger announced her decision to retire from the WISPA
World Tour at the Women's World Team Championship farewell
dinner in New Zealand at the weekend.
Before reaching the age of three, Grainger was thrust into
the world of squash by her mother, British champion Jean
Grainger (nee Wilson), and played at her parents' own squash
centre in Johannesburg.
She first made her mark on the international stage after
reaching the quarter finals of the World Junior
Championships both in 1993 and 1995, whilst competing as a
At only 17 years old, Grainger was the youngest player to be
selected for the South African senior side in 1994.
She became the highest-ranked South African of all-time in
1999 when she reached seventh in the world rankings, an
achievement that still stands.
After moving to the USA in 2002 she transferred her
allegiance to her new country of residence and in 2007
became a US citizen.
But it was in June 2003 that Grainger became world number
one for the first time. She went on to reach 44 WISPA
World Tour finals in her career (including the British Open
in 2004) and won 23 titles.
says her proudest moment in gaining those titles was winning
the $105,000 Qatar Classic in December 2003.
In 2007, Grainger clinched the gold medal in the
Pan-American Games and won her fourth US National
title in March this year.
During her time away from the court Grainger has also
contributed greatly to the sport in her position on the
WISPA Board. She was elected the Association's President in
2003 and Principal in 2010.
"Natalie has made an outstanding contribution to squash both
on and off court. She is leaving a big footprint on the
game," said WISPA Chairman Ingrid Lofdahl-Bentzer.
"In her role as board member and then WISPA President for
the last seven years, she has been a tower of strength -
particularly during the last couple of years, when she has
frequently forsaken her playing career for the good of WISPA
and the game of squash.
"She has inspired a whole generation of players with her
'never-say-die' mentality and larger than life personality.
Her achievements on court speak for themselves - she has
enjoyed a truly glittering career, in spite of numerous
"Natalie's warm, engaging and outgoing personality - coupled
with a natural talent - is second to none," added the
Chairman. "She will be very much missed on the WISPA Tour -
but fortunately we'll still benefit from her involvement in
squash in the future."
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