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This is a tableau of U.S. sportsmen attentively following the finals of a national championship last week. Included in the scene are bankers, lawyers stockbrokers, publishers, a shipping official, a brain surgeon—and many envious professionals. They numbered only 250—but it was a standing-room-only gallery. To see what they were watching, turn page.
MATEER WINS AT SQUASH
By special invitation only, 16 of the world's top squash racquets players descended on Manhattan's University Club last week. They hailed from seven countries. Nine were professionals, the others true amateurs. The purpose of their visit: to win the United States Open, which, since its successful debut only a year ago, has become one of the most coveted prizes in the large and happy kingdom of men who play squash round the world.
England, the birthplace of squash (a game first played at Harrow about 1850 and derived from racquets), was represented by Derek R. Bocquet, who won only one match. The U.S. sent out her two leading amateurs, defending Open Champion Henri Salaun of Boston and G. Diehl Mateer Jr., a 26-year-old Philadelphia machinery company engineer and executive who holds both the national amateur singles and doubles titles.
But the favorite's role went, as usual, to an agile 40-year-old pro from Pakistan by the name of Hashim Khan. On his first trip to America a year ago Hashim met defeat (to Salaun in the finals) for the first and only time in his life. This time he brought with him his brother Azam, 28, and cousin Roshan, 26, both of whom were getting their first crack at the U.S. game, which is played on a smaller court than in England (and with a livelier ball and heavier racquet).
A MASTER USES HIS HEAD
Azam reached the finals by shading Salaun and cousin Roshan. Hashim, who had injured his leg in practice, was forced to default to Mateer in the semis. In the finals, with a full house looking on, Mateer was the master all the way. He kept Azam continually on the defensive, never let him get set as he whipped off one polished shot after another. Just 38 minutes after the first shot Mateer was the new champion. The score: 15-9, 15-5, 15-10.
As the crowd spilled down into the locker room for a drink with the new champ, Referee John Weeks gave his analysis: "All the Pakistanians are superb retrievers. To beat them you've got to use your head. That's exactly what Mateer did today."
Azam Khan, a 5 ft. 4 in. speed demon, was the more able ground gainer in the finals, but despite such gets as this one—deep in the corner—he lacked Mateer's skill.
Diehl Mateer, the new U.S. Open Champion, has been playing squash for 10 of his 26 years. He's improving all the time.