England’s former World No.2 Jenny Duncalf has announced that she will retire from professional squash at this month’s Allam British Open.
Brisbane-based Duncalf spent 29 months at World No.2 behind the legendary Nicol David and won major tournaments such as the US Open and Qatar Classic in 2009 – beating partner Rachael Grinham in the final of the latter.
Duncalf was also a finalist at the British Open in 2008 and the PSA World Championships in 2011, falling to David on both occasions.
The Haarlem-born 36-year-old also represented England at the highest level, winning Commonwealth Games silver medals in 2010 and 2014, while she was part of the team that won the 2006 Women’s World Team Championships in Edmonton.
Duncalf turned professional in 1999 and has won 11 PSA Tour titles over the course of her 20-year career, reaching 25 finals. Her current record stands at 474 PSA Tour matches, of which she has won 270.
Her most recent PSA Tour title came at the Queensland Open in October 2017, where she beat Australia’s Christine Nunn in the title decider.
Duncalf’s influence on the tour has extended to off the court, and she has served as the PSA Women’s President ever since the historic merger between the Professional Squash Association (PSA) and Women’s Squash Association (WSA) in 2015.
Two years ago, Duncalf and former World Champion Grinham became the first professional squash players to openly identify themselves as gay. Speaking at the time, Duncalf said they made the decision to ‘come out’ publicly in order to help others embrace their sexuality, especially within the realms of professional sport.
Duncalf will stay on as PSA Women’s President until the PSA’s next AGM, which will take place later this year. She will also take up a role as the official Master of Ceremonies (MC) for various future PSA Tour events.
“It’s time. Conflicted feelings and motivation about the sport I loved have led to tough times, but to call it a day was always frightening in a way, and part of me always hoped maybe I could rekindle something that would leave me satisfied enough to say goodbye,” said Duncalf in a statement released via her Facebook page
“But I am realistic and content enough now to know that that the time has come, and looking back on my career, I am at peace and happy with what I achieved and the career I have had. I am so grateful for what the sport has given me and those moments that I loved so much, playing for my country, competing, winning, losing, battling is what makes it hard to end it all. Those days are long gone now, and new pastures lay ahead.
“If someone had told me at nine years old [I] would be England captain, gain 100+ caps and reach No.2 in the world and every major championship final behind Nicol David, I would have [almost] taken it. One major would have been nice, I did what I could though, and I like to think that I am proud of the player I was, always fair, hopefully enjoyable to watch at times, and I helped others when I could off the court. I have no regrets and couldn’t have done anything more than I did.
“The World Tour is going from strength to strength, and I am happy to step out of it in such a healthy state. I will continue to give back as best as I can through my role as PSA Women’s President until the next elections, and am excited to still be a part of it firsthand as an MC.”
PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough said: “Jenny has been a fantastic ambassador for the sport both on court and in her role as the PSA Women’s President.
“She will be sorely missed from the tour, and on behalf of the PSA, I would like to thank Jenny for her hard-work in supporting the women’s game and her exemplary attitude over the past 20 years.”
Duncalf's fellow professionals past and present took to social media to pay tribute to the former World No2.
We have shared so much together. So many special memories. How we have laughed and had fun over all these years! Many more to come as well. So proud of you for all you have achieved in your fantastic career. My best friend ❤️ pic.twitter.com/z9NRdqplmh— Alison Waters (@Aliwat1) May 2, 2019
Happy retirement Jenny and congrats on your career.— Simon Rösner (@simonroesner) May 2, 2019
I’m so sad at the moment. All of my peers/OUR generation are retiring all at once. No one who I was closer to or admired more than
JennyDuncalf</a>. World Champion with England & reached #2 in the world behind the great Nicol. But not only that; did it with such style & panacheNickMatthew