The ultimate non-professional super talent: Billy Haddrell
By L-J Anjema © 2005 Laurens-Jan
Anjema and SquashTalk LLC
|Billy Haddrell wins an event in Mexico in 2000
like to write this article about an Australian friend of mine, who I
seen or spoken for almost 5 years, who had the most natural swing in
the world, whose hard-hitting matched Johny White’s,
who smoked and drank like a maniac, who (ironically) inspired me to become
a squash professional.
1998. I’m 16 years old.
It’s Tuesday afternoon and today I’m practicing with
my squash-idol. After having rushed home from school, I’m at
the old squash club in The Hague waiting at court 2 for Billy, who
plays for the 1st team of the Haagsche Squash Rackets Club.
“4 o’clock”, he said. And at 20 past 4
I’m still warming up, stretching and waiting till finally he
arrives with a coke and cigarette in his hand, a grin on his face, “Gday
After half and hour of trying to return 200 miles-and-hour shots
and delicate soft drop-shots, I start complaining about my grip, which
is too hard and too slippery. With no delay, Billy walks of court,
opens my squashbag, gets my towel, rips it into pieces, folds one off
the pieces loosely around the handle of my racket, looks at me with
those squashball-sized eyes and says: “There you go mate”.
Maybe one of his specialties was what the pros call the ‘figure
8 routine’. It is not the simple version of the well-known ‘butterfly-routine’ where
you stand on the T and FH-volley into the left corner, and then BH-volley
in the right corner and so on. It is ALMOST that routine only instead
off only using the front corners, you also volley into the back corners.
So it goes: FH-volley in the front left corner, BH-volley in the front
right, then turn 180 degrees and BH volley into the left back corner,
FH-volley into the right back corner, then turn 180
degrees and repeat.
It’s already hard explaining the routine. Let alone doing
Forget about doing it while you’re DRUNK! And that’s
what this guy did.
He was getting drunk at a bar in some squash club when a fellow-pro
(won’t mention a name) bet him 100 USD he couldn’t do 10
rounds (!) of the difficult figure 8 routine. “You’re on
mate”, he said, stumbled off the stairs to the courts, got a
racket and a ball from a bag somewhere, put his beer on the ground,
and started doing this almost impossible routine perfectly. BANG, BANG,
BANG, BANG, BANG….etc.
He won the bet and pretended it was the most normal thing in the
|McDonalds, Center City, Den Haag – a Haddrell Hangout.
Being the non-pro he was, a smoker and a drinker, his regular weekday
dinner used to include ‘a quick lil’ visit to the Drive
Thru’ of MacDonald’s or Burger King.
Ordering a few double Whoppers with cheese, a large Coke and chips
would have been too boring for Billy. He used to have this routine
he called ‘the chip-assault’. Now this is not as threatening
and complicated as it sounds… It basically consisted of, after
having paid the poor 8 dollar-an-hour employee, throwing a little handful
of chips at the poor bugger and then driving off, as if he just robbed
Each time funnier then the last.
— Laurens-Jan Anjema
7th nov 2005
04:00 United Airlines, Washington-Amsterdam