Star Brings Unique Perspective on Squash, Life
Berg – playing singles in 2003. (photo© Debra Tessier)
With the recent retirement of Jonathan Power and the
imminent retirement of his perennial counterpart Peter Nicol,
there has been concern that the game may now lack individuals
with charisma and personality.
When Canadian Viktor Berg chose North American doubles
over the PSA Singles circuit the squash spectator masses were
also robbed of one the most entertaining and innovative of Squash
players. (Berg had climbed to a career high of PSA #45)
The North American doubles tour is all the better for
having the likes of Viktor Berg around. With upbeat humor, boundless
energy and a dazzling array of shots, Victor is a fantastic ambassador
for the game of Squash and is no doubt one of the main doubles
stars responsible for the growth of the ISDA tour over the last
recently had the chance to chat with Viktor at a charity
event staged at Squashbusters in Boston.
Describe how you got started in squash and how it progressed
into a playing career.
Berg – playing Jonathon Power at the TOC in 2004. (photo© Debra
My parents played and I really
enjoyed it, started from tennis as that’s how I got my
double-handed backhand. I
think it progressed from the professional side of the sport, for
the love of the overall game. I loved sports, traveling
around the world and doing something I loved. It all seemed
like a perfect fit even when I was younger.
JH: You are one of the most entertaining squash players in the
world, what do you think it is about your personality that allows
this to happen?
Thanks. Sports and personality go hand in hand. If you see
and look at any sports athlete their style
dictates a little about themselves. I just enjoy everything
about the sport. Everything from how amazing you feel to the
people involved. It really just comes down to
the moment of playing and loving what you are doing. I
think I found out when I was younger (junior) that when you are
doing something you should choose to like it or why bother? Like
anything in life, I love what I do.
is an all around amazing sport. When I look at other sports
I look at the overall concept and lifestyle of it, Squash
is played in almost every country in the world, beautiful
clubs, it’s the healthiest sport
and they all have the most amazing people involved….so I say
to myself, this is the best! It really can`t be compared
to any other sport. Sometimes I would talk to someone about
there kids playing junior squash and they would ask for advice. The
main priority I feel is they should enjoy it and squash
should be a lifetime sport. I’ve met so many great
people that I just want them to stay involved it. I
think most players feel this way too but I let it show on court
with my energy sometimes.
second when I am out there I always try to imagine and be
creative. Gambling is a part of squash too, taking risks
and this comes a little bit more natural to me.
Why is hardball doubles your main focus and how does it differ
from pro singles?
Berg – appearing mainly on the ISDA tour these days. (photo©
Good question. I love both sports. Doubles
is more entertaining and enjoyable to play but also
sometimes singles is more satisfying.
This is due to the physical element. Physically you give
it your all and there is something about pushing your body and
mind to the edge that makes you feel content.
is much harder work on the upper body and mentally demanding.
Doubles is played at a much faster pace and exciting. You
can hit any shot from any angle. It’s really quite amazing. I
grew up playing singles for Canada and the PSA tour but
when Gary Waite introduced me to doubles and how he has
grown the game, I have never looked back.
JH: You mentioned the gambling element in playing squash and
I know you are a fanatical poker player. Whatother interests
outside of squash do you have?
Well, over the past few years, I have played both the ISDA
tour and PSA and that doesn’t leave me much time for anything
else. Currently I am playing only the ISDA tour as the traveling
is too much from the west coast now. It
leaves me more time for other interests which does include poker.
I have also taken up my first real estate project which includes
a mix residential and commercial complex.
It is fairly well known in the squash community that your
girlfriend Morgan suffered a tragic injury several years
ago. How have you both been able to cope with the set back
and what positives have come out of it for you both?
let me say this. We (Morgan and I) would not be doing
nearly as well without all the squash communities support. Everyone
and everybody have been so amazing to us. We are so thankful
for everyone support and that is what makes the differences with
us. We are still thankful for what we have. Morgan has had a
few setbacks though. She has now gone though 4 major surgery’s
and still recovering from the last one. It is not always
easy but we make the best of the cards we were dealt and try
and move forward. Life has changed but I know it is our choices
in what direction we want to go.
I think I am doing well too because Morgan has
been so amazing with how strong she has been. The squash
community has been my life line at times.
the most bizarre experience you’ve hadduring your travels
as a Pro Squash player?
had many bizarre experiences, from
playing on a painted white cement floor mixed with coca
cola for traction
control to playing on an out door court which had no roof and
it rained!! This was when I was playing in Mexico during
the finals of a PSA event. We had to stay a extra
couple days so they could fix the floors. No problem with the
players as we were on the beach!!!
also remember when I was traveling in South America but I
unknowingly traveled without a mandatory vaccine shot for
yellow fever. Unfortunately my travel agent didn`t tell me!!
So, I showed up at the airport and they wouldn`t let me on
the plane. I had to get a fake vaccine certificate from some
shoddy travel company and was thankfully
just able to get to my first round on time a couple of days later.
What are your plans after your playing career has finished?
I have a very keen and active interest in real-estate and
the stock market. In
the squash world I’ve always enjoyed
the coaching aspect and hope to always be involved with juniors.
what the inner city squash programs are doing is tremendous and
might like to be involved with something of that nature eventually.
Thanks for taking time out to talk and best of luck to both you
and Morgan for the future.
Thanks Jason, it was a pleasure!