Pro-File: Annelize Naude

I first played squash at age nine with my mother and father. I used to follow my parents to the courts. They were club players and had just gotten into the game. After Geoff Hunt came to town, my mom took a coaching course to be able to get the kids at the club started.

I really feel at home here in Seattle. The culture is very similar to what I grew up with in South Africa and the Netherlands. It is accessible to everybody. It’s a community of players of all ages who all play against each other. The atmosphere at the club is very social and many good friendships are formed.

The squash culture in Europe is built around social players that play for fun and then enjoy an evening at the squash club. You rent your court, go and play, then hang out at the bar. The courts are built around the bar and the clubs rely on getting their main income from the bar and kitchen. Tournaments are mainly fun events. The U.S. squash culture is mainly private clubs and big youth programs geared towards college squash.

I have always loved music. I started DJ’ing in bars in Amsterdam while I was still competing. When I retired [from professional squash] I studied audio engineering for two years and continued DJ’ing. Often I would DJ till 4 in the morning, only to give a spinning class at 9am. Same music, just a change in audience. In Amsterdam I mostly played in clubs, but in Seattle I have been doing more corporate and private events. I also love doing sport events and performed at various PSA tournaments and the Amsterdam Rugby Sevens tournament.  Believe it or not, like any big squash match, I do get quite nervous before a performance, especially if I am taking over from somebody else. People don’t notice the DJ when everything runs smoothly, but when you mess up they certainly do. I do like to take risks—I guess that is similar to my squash game—and I feel very satisfied if I pull it off.

My hours on the court are quite demanding with a lot of good club players wanting to run around with me. Other than that, I try to save my energy to enjoy the sports that I didn’t get too much time for while I was competing. I enjoy my early morning runs. I love get out on mountain bike rides. I am looking forward to the snowboarding season starting soon. I took up golf in the summer. You can also always find me at concerts in the city, wine tasting or just catching up with friends. The next book on my list is Wonder Valley by Ivy Pochoda, a former training partner of mine when we were both living in Amsterdam.

I have finally settled on my more “normal” hair color, orange. I started coloring my hair after I made the South African team for the 1998 Commonwealth Games. I used to change the color every few months and have had most colors. I guess it has become part of my trademark.