11 Points with LJ Anjema
by ALAN THATCHER
1: LJ, good to see you
back on court after a long injury absence. What was the injury
and how long has it taken to regain full fitness?
I had a bone spur in my left foot. A bone spur forms as the body
tries to repair itself by building extra bone. It typically
forms in response to pressure, rubbing, or stress that continues
over a long period of time. I had surgery mid-November to get
rid of it. The rehab took three months, but then you've only
sorted our your foot. I realize now how fine-tuned we 'normally'
are, as athletes, and how difficult it is to get back there.
2: Where is your home club? And who are your main coaches
and training partners?
I play for Maastricht in the south of Holland but my hometown is
The Hague, which is near the beach. My coach is former national
champion Lucas Buit and I train with Cameron Pilley, Steve
Finitsis, Sebastian Weenink and Piëdro Schweertman, who all live
3: What are the most important things you have learned
about fitness training for squash during your career?
That less is more, until it's not enough. You're continually
walking this fine line of training too much, too little,
depending on where you are in the season. I've learned that a
session in the gym should not last longer than 75 minutes and
should not necessarily deplete you.
4: What are your thoughts on squash's bid to become an
Squash is the hardest sport in the world. A lot of sports are
technical and physical, but apart from those components, in
squash you need to be tactically smart like a chess player at
the same time, and mentally strong enough not to lose four
points in a row because you got a bad decision and your opponent
is in your face. It's truly a gladiatorial sport. I am surprised
that the Olympic Games have not recognized it.
5: What do you enjoy / hate the most about travelling the
world to play squash?
Before I got injured, I took things for granted a bit, about my
life as a pro squash player. Another plane here, another jetlag
there. Physically pushing all the time. During my five months at
home I started missing the travelling, the airports, wandering
on my own, living in strange cities, if only for a week,
drinking coffee with a stranger in a place I don't know. And I
realized how cool it is to make money hitting this little rubber
ball against a wall.
6: The professional game is evolving all the time. What
would you say are the biggest changes you have seen in your own
I don't know. Maybe the game is quicker. It might be more
attacking. It doesn't really matter. You get 'new' opponents and
you just have to adapt.
7: Who are your favourite squash players of all time, and
Anthony Rickets. I liked his presence and aggression on court.
8: You have a tough first round tie against Spanish number
one Borja Golan. He, too, knows a thing or two about injuries.
How have your matches gone in the past, and what are you
expecting at Canary Wharf?
I played him in Shanghai just before I got injured and I won
3-2. This match at Canary Wharf will be a great test to see
where I'm at.
Whatever the result, you have some commitments during the
tournament with your racket sponsors, Harrow, who are the
Official Racket for Canary Wharf 2015. What attracted you to the
It's a young, cool, growing American brand with great rackets.
Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?!
10: If you could change one rule in squash, what would it
be and why?
I wouldn't change a thing. The game is great as it is. After our
failed Olympic Bid, we have the tendency to look at our sport
and ask ourselves; what's wrong with it? That's ridiculous.
Let's turn it around. The game is better than ever before. The
change to the low-tin invites attacking squash and requires
incredible athleticism. The 11-PAR scoring makes the game even
more entertaining. The portable glass court with LED lighting is
as spectacular as it gets. The super slow-motion cameras capture
action you can't see with the naked eye. As a sport, we are
11: At 32, are you beginning to plan for a career after
your playing days have finished? If so, what direction will that
I have a new-found hunger for the game, so I'm not done for a
while. I'm going to use this body of mine playing squash till it
can't compete anymore. I'm a big coffee lover, I did a barista
course, so when I'm finished I'll start my own coffee stall in
town and I will make amazing coffees for everyone that walks in
and tell them stories about my previous life as an athlete and
they'll be like: Yeah, right...