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Eddy Merckx, the miracle of the six bomb

Posted by on November 24, 2011

Eddy Merckx, the miracle of the six bomb

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Eddy Merckx, since this year the holder of a fabulous world record.

NIEUWPOORT - Whatever may happen to Eddy Merckx in the next few years of his career: the Belgian three-cushion champion will be reminded for years as the player, who wrote history on that memorable Saturday in the German league, where he finished a match of fifty caroms in six innings!

'The miracle of the six bomb' was seen all over the world as an unlikely and perhaps never to improve record, which was held before that match by the Swede Torbjörn Blomdahl, the Belgian Frédéric Caudron and the Italian Marco Zanetti with fifty points in nine innings.

The year of his fantastic record began with a World Cup victory in Trabzon. Eddy Merckx closes the season with the World Cup in Hurghada next week.

Who is Eddy Merckx, what does he do in his private life, what did he do before he became a professional billiard player, which are his most important victories so far, with what kind of material is he playing?

Eddy Merckx: ,,I live in Nieuwpoort, was born on September 4, 1968 in Reet, I'm married to Brenda since 1993 and we have two daughters: Kaylee and Chloe. I started to play billiards when I was eleven. My teachers were Ludo Dielis, Tonny Schrauwen, Emile Wafflard and Jean Verworst. Before I became a professional player, we had a billiard cafe in Schelle. Since this year I only play billiards. My former hobby was making walking-tours.''

,,The most important victories in my career so far were the World championship in 2006, the European championship in 2007, the Supercup in 2007, the European championship for national teams and six times the Belgian title. My highest position in the world ranking was a second place, six months ago.''

,,I play with a Longoni EM3, 510 grams, Top Pro 69, 12 mm. In my billiard room at home I have a Verhoeven billiard, a
unique model, which is specially made by Verhoeven, because it fits perfectly in the interior: a white table with a black cloth.''

Frits Bakker: There is no doubt about, of course, what's your highlight of this year: the world record of fifty points in six innings.  How do you look back to that unbelievable afternoon in Germany, how many times people remember you and speak with you about that historical match?

Eddy Merckx: ,,That was a great day for me, of course. This match will stay with me forever, people always keep on talking and asking me for the match. And I'm always announced as the player with the world record when there is a presentation of players before a match or a tournament.''

FB: Do you still remember almost every carom of that match?
EM: ,,Yes, almost every point, especially the balls that I missed, for instance in the run of 26 and the misses in the fourth and fifth inning, because at that moment I already was close to the end at 46 points.''

FB: Do you know exactly the balls that you missed?
EM: ,,I can put them on the table almost in the same positions.''

FB: It's almost inconceivable that this performance will ever be improved. Or will it be? Were there one or two misses, of which you say afterwards that you could have made them?
EM: ,,Every point can be made, of course, but there was certainly not any easy ball that I missed. I am very happy with it, actually, because when I came close to the finish, the pressure increased. Then it's very dangerous to make mistakes.''

FB: What kind of a season is this for you so far, regarding your individual tournaments and performances. You started with a victory in the World Cup in Trabzon, where you beat Kyung-Roul Kim in the final with 3.000 average. You didn't have any peak like that further in this year.
EM: ,,No, indeed. I'm not the player who is able to win every World Cup, although I must admit that it is not fun to lose in the first round. But right now, there are so many strong players who can beat each other. There are several players who are capable of winning a World Cup, but also can lose it in the first round. I am certainly one of them.''

FB: Was it the form which wasn't on top in the rest of the year, or were there other causes?
EM: ,,What is form? Of course there is a form of the day, which you need on the right day and at the right place. But it's simply not so important to play a great match just before a World Cup and then have a bad day in the tournament.''

FB: You have switched from your career as a semi-pro player with a busy billiard cafe this year to a full professional life. How does it feel?
EM: ,,It's wonderful, I'm very glad I did it. Billiards was my hobby, now it is my profession, who doesn't want that?''

FB: It will probably give you a little more inner peace, with more time for the kids? Do you feel more relaxed during your matches and tournaments?
EM: ,,There are certainly things which I don't have to think about, so you feel more relaxed indeed and you have more time for the children and other things. But playing three cushion is really something special. When you're on the table, you feel like another person than you are in your private life.''

FB: How does a professional player like you live for his sport. I mean, how many practicing hours, how is your daily live look like (early wake up, early to bed?). Considering food and drink? And what about your fitness?
EM: ,,I practice a lot more now than before, not that I feel a kind of pressure in the number of hours. I look for myself day by day what's the best for me, but the most important is, that I have more regularity in my life. Before, when we had the cafe, most of the time I went to sleep in the late night, now it's much earlier. With my diet, I try to find the balance of enjoying life in a healthy way.''

FB: When you look at your performance in the country's leagues: in the Netherlands you are on top with the team of TOVV and you have an excellent season so far. In Belgium, for the team of Quality Zele, things are going not so well. How can you explain the difference in wins and in average?
EM: ,,I already thought about it for some weeks, but I can't find an explanation at this time. I always do my best. This is the first season that there is such a remarkable difference between the Belgium and the Dutch league in my performances. I am convinced that things will come closer at the end of the season.''

FB: What many people in billiard remember is that you lost weight spectacularly, years ago. Was it an important move in your career?
EM: ,,Between 1999 and 2000 I lost 35 kilos. I don't know what it would have been if I had not done that, but I really feel very great since that time.''

FB: If you would classify players in a category: technique, mentality, character, combativeness. How would you classify yourself?
EM: ,,Fighting spirit is one of my strengths, definitely, because I really like to win and I can enjoy it very much.''

FB: The World Cup cycle start and end with a victory, that would be an ideal for you. So we can say that you're highly motivated when you start in the World Cup in Hurghada next week.
EM: ,,That would be very nice, indeed. We know from the past that it will be very hard to realize that. The road to victory will be very tough.''

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