“I live life in the fast lane, that’s the truth,” smiled Raj Hundal. “I think I live every day like it’s my last, almost. Try to get the most out of it, that’s my mentality. That’s why when I’m behind in matches, I’m not scared at that point.”
Hailing from Hounslow in the United Kingdom, Hundal was six when he began playing on his cousin’s snooker table. When his father saw Raj beating not only his cousins but his uncles as well, he took his son to the snooker room.
“I was way too short to play, so I used to have a beer crate about a foot high,” remembered Hundal. “I used to play a shot, drag the beer crate around, and jump up on it and play another shot. I had a real passion for the game, to play snooker. I was crazy as a kid.”
From there, he began playing in handicapped events at 10 and had his first “century break” when he was 13. Hundal became of the UK’s top junior snooker players and made the natural progression into 9-ball when he sighted a poster for an upcoming event. Playing with a snooker cue and a house stick, he ended up taking third place.
His game steadily improved, and it wasn’t long before he made a name for himself as one of the top 9-ballers in Britain. Off to the World Pool Championships in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, he was matched up with one of the toughest players in the world, Chin-Shun Yang, in Yang’s hometown, and won.
“There were five hundred guys in the audience rooting for him, and three guys rooting for me. That was a big win for me, I thought that the whole world was against me, but I really love that. I got a big buzz off of it.” He was eliminated by Rodney Morris from that event but got his revenge a couple of months later when he bested the Hawaiian in the finals of the World Pool Masters.
“Everyone’s as good as each other. On their own day, anyone can be the greatest,” Hundal averred. “I think that as professional athletes and sportsmen that the world actually looks up to, we should set an example.”