Expectant Grinham Withdraws From Qatar

16 Nov 09

Natalie Grinham, the world No3 from the Netherlands, has withdrawn from the 2009 Qatar Classic which takes place this week at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Centre in Doha.

The 31-year-old is almost three months pregnant and has been unable to train or play since her withdrawal from the Hong Kong Open last month. Whilst Grinham is delighted with her planned pregnancy, she did expect to be able to compete a little bit longer.

"I'm very happy to become a mum for the first time. I expected to carry on playing until the end of this year, but unfortunately I haven't been feeling well at all over the past weeks," said the former Australian who won a record three gold medals in the Commonwealth Games in 2006.

The Dutch player, whose first child is due next year, is determined to make a comeback after giving birth: "I'm planning to come back onto the professional circuit as there is still a world title that I'm looking for," said Grinham, who is a four-time Women's World Open silver medallist.

Grinham had a successful 2009 although she was out for more than two months at the beginning of the year with a severe case of whooping cough. After fighting her way back to extreme fitness, she became European Champion for the first time in June, before winning two WISPA tournaments (in France and New Zealand) and making the final at both the World Games in Chinese Taipei and the World Open in Amsterdam.

This year also marked the first time that the former Australian represented the Netherlands in a team event, after taking up the nationality of her husband Tommy Berden at the beginning of 2008. Natalie led the Dutch team to a silver medal at the European Team Championships in Sweden in May.

Grinham's withdrawal from the Qatar Classic elevates her older sister Rachael Grinham to the position of second seed in the prestigious WISPA Gold tournament in the Middle East which boasts a total prize fund of USD $74,000. World champion Nicol David heads the draw with England's Alison Waters and Jenny Duncalf holding the third and fourth spot.

Women's Qatar Classic, 1st round draw:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) v Qualifier
[11] Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) v Suzie Pierrepont (ENG)
[7] Laura Massaro (ENG) v Qualifier
[16] Tania Bailey (ENG) v Qualifier
[4] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v Qualifier
[14] Rebecca Chiu (HKG) v Dominique Lloyd-Walter (ENG)
[6] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v Engy Kheirallah (EGY)
[10] Isabelle Stoehr (FRA) v Donna Urquhart (AUS)
[15] Camille Serme (FRA) v Delia Arnold (MAS)
[5] Madeline Perry (IRL) v Qualifier
[13] Samantha Teran (MEX) v Sarah Kippax (ENG)
[3] Alison Waters (ENG) v Qualifier
[9] Vanessa Atkinson (NED) v Line Hansen (DEN)
[8] Kasey Brown (AUS) v Raneem El Weleily (EGY)
[12] Annie Au (HKG) v Qualifier
[2] Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Qualifier