I feel like an addict about to get a fix says Natalie Grinham as she returns to world tour in Chicago
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Correspondent
Just seven months after the birth of her second child, former world number two Natalie Grinham will make her comeback at the first Women’s Squash Association World Series championship of the year, the Windy City Open presented by Guggenheim Partners and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company in Chicago from 26 February to 4 March.
The World Series Platinum event is making history by offering the richest purse in North America this year and providing parity for men’s and women’s prize money.
The Windy City Open, hosted by the University Club of Chicago and staged in the club’s prestigious Cathedral Hall, is one of only two Pro Squash World Series Events to offer prize money parity for men and women professionals.
Australia-born Grinham, a record triple gold medallist in the 2006 Commonwealth Games who now represents the Netherlands where she boasts three national titles, is excited about making her latest Tour comeback after the birth of her second son Ryan on 31st July last year.
“I feel like an addict about to get my fix,” admitted the 36-year-old from Hoofddorp. “I am excited to be going back on tour, but at the same time nervous and curious.”
Grinham, who has appeared in 44 WSA World Tour finals and boasts 19 titles, lines up against Alison Waters, the world No.5 from England, in the first round in the top half of the draw.
“How far will I get, and will I be satisfied?” continued Grinham (pictured above with Ryan). “I think it’s possible to get back to being competitive at the highest level.
“Having two kids requires a lot more structure, so it’s going to be tougher this time – but I do love a challenge!”
The draw also includes Natalie’s older sister Rachael Grinham, the 11th seed. The former world number one faces Hong Kong’s Joey Chan in the other half of the draw.
Malaysia’s reigning world number one Nicol David is seeded to win her 61st WSA World Series title in Chicago. The 31-year-old from Penang, who last month won a record eighth world title, opens her Windy City Open campaign against US wild card Olivia Blatchford.
The draw predicts a final between David and Raneem El Welily, the Egyptian who moved up to two in the January world rankings after reaching December’s Wadi Degla World Championship final at her home club in Cairo against expectations.
Defending champion Laura Massaro, who beat El Welily in last year’s final, is the event’s third seed. The world No.3 from England faces a qualifier in the opening round.
Windy City Open 1st round draw:
 Nicol David (MAS) v [WC] Olivia Blatchford (USA)
 Dipika Pallikal (IND) v Qualifier
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v Qualifier
 Alison Waters (ENG) v Natalie Grinham (NED)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Qualifier
 Annie Au (HKG) v Jenny Duncalf (ENG)
 Madeline Perry (IRL) v Qualifier
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Joshana Chinappa (IND)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v Qualifier
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v Nicolette Fernandes (GUY)
 Emma Beddoes (ENG) v Sarah Kippax (ENG)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v Qualifier
 Low Wee Wern (MAS) v Habiba Mohamed (EGY)
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Joey Chan (HKG)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v Qualifier
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v Qualifier
Tickets are available at www.windycityopen.com
For all the latest WSA Tour news: wsaworldtour.com
Pictures courtesy of WSA