Drama in the Rama

Last month, on 12 November, American squash had an unnoticed anniversary. It was Monday 12 November 1984 that the finals of the Boston Open were played at the Cyclorama in the South End of the Hub. Mark Talbott v. Jahangir Khan.

I wrote a whole chapter in my 2003 Squash: A History of the Game, about the match. Talbott won 18-16 in the fifth. It took over a hundred minutes. It had classic points—one an eighty-two stroke rally—and incredible drama. For some it was the kind of match only eclipsed by matches like the finals of the recent 2014 men’s world championships.

So where is squash in America now, exactly thirty years later? Will a thousand fans come to watch the finals of a major, portable-court tournament? Yes.

But will it be a riveting contest between an American and  a world champion? Not yet. But soon. And chances are it will be a woman playing Mark Talbott’s role.



With Victor Elmaleh’s death last month at the age of ninety-five, I was reminded of a couple of places on the web that have some great material on him.

1. Listen to an audio of an interview Peter Krulewitch did with Elmaleh in 2009:



2. Alex Beam—with whom I shared a weekly blog at Vanity Fair—did a great piece on Elmaleh in 2009:


Beam’s article notes that Elmaleh was a left-waller all his squash doubles life, except when he played with the other Victor, Neiderhoffer, who put Elmaleh on the right wall for their stunning 1968 National Doubles tour de force.

3. And the Times checked in about Victor’s squash game: