Jenny Duncalf, pictured, and Rachael Grinham have gone public about their relationship ©PSA

Rachel Grinham and Jenny Duncalf have become the first active professional squash players to "openly identify" as gay after publicising their relationship in a bid to make others "more comfortable in their own skin".

Grinham, the 2007 world champion from Australia, and England's 2011 World Championship finallist Duncalf, have been a couple for several years.

They have travelled together to events in which they have played either alongside or against each other.

Their relationship has long been known within the professional game but the duo believe that, by openly "coming out" they can help others embrace their sexuality, especially within professional sport.

Duncalf moved to Brisbane in 2015 to live with Grinham.

"To us our relationship has been public for many years now but we were made to realise that we are in a unique situation where our relationship could make a difference," the 34-year-old told US Squash Magazine.

"We felt that if by openly 'coming out in professional sport' we could help just one person feel more comfortable and encouraged about their own journey, then it would be more than worthwhile doing so."

Rachael Grinham is a former world number one from Australia ©PSA
Rachael Grinham is a former world number one from Australia ©PSA

Duncalf has made more than 100 appearances for England during her career, including winning Commonwealth Games silver medals in 2010 and 2014.

The biggest Tour title of her career came in 2009 when she beat Grinham to win the Qatar Classic.

"I don't personally see it as suddenly making our relationship public," Grinham, a 2006 and 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medal winner, added.

"There was a period in the very beginning when Jen was afraid of people finding out, but we've not hidden it for a long time now and it's not going to come as news to most people who know us.

"I think some people in sport, especially high profile sports, feel that they are contracted to have a certain image and are afraid that being gay would lose them fans and endorsements.

"But I also think it is way better today than it has been in the past thanks to all those who have endured tough times and rallied for gay rights."