At the age of 12, Geoff Hunt took up squash. At the age of 15, he won his first state championship when he took out the Victorian junior title in 1962. The following year he won the Australian Junior Championship and his first open event, the Victorian State Championship. Then at the age of 18 in 1965, he went on to win the Australian national title – the first of seven times he would triumph at that level, making him the youngest player in history to do so.
It was therefore no surprise that the official magazine of the Squash Racquets Association of Britain rated Hunt in 1980 as ‘the world’s greatest ever squash player’. Two years later, aged 35, Hunt retired from competition squash as the most celebrated player of the sport in Australia’s history, announcing his retirement due to ongoing injury battles.
Throughout his career, Hunt won a record – to that time – eight British Opens (1969, 1974, 1976 – 1981) (he was runner up in 1970 and 1972), four World Opens (1975, 1976, 1979 and 1980), three World amateur titles (1967, 1969, and 1971), 16 Australian titles, three World Team Championships, eight South African and three Irish championships. He won every major tournament in the world, and the majority of those more than once.
In all, Hunt played 215 tournaments in Australia and overseas and won 178 of them, representing more than 80 per cent of those he contested. In 1969, he became the first player to win the World Amateur and British Open Championships in the one year. He was ranked either number one or two in the world every year from 1967 to 1981.
Hunt also ventured into other sports, playing in five major American Handball events. He won three, and was runner up twice. He was also runner up in the Australian Superstar event, which incorporated ten varieties of sport, in 1977.
Hunt maintains a connection with the squash community to this day. He was appointed head coach of the Australian Institute of Sport squash unit when it opened in 1985 until 2003 where he helped develop a new generation of Australian squash stars, and is Squash Australia’s high performance manager.
Honours & Awards
Made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1972
Made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1982 for his services to the sport of squash, and to international relations
Inducted into the World Squash Federation (WSF) Hall of Fame
Inducted into the Squash Australia Hall of Fame as ‘Legend’
Inducted into The Sport Australia Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural group in 1985