The 1988-89 season was Talbott's best. He won 14 of 17 tournaments and became the first player in the 62-year history of the circuit to sweep the four Grand Slam events (the North American Open, Boston Open, Canadian Open and World Professional Squash Association Championships). This season he has won nine of 15 tournaments, but he came into the WPSA Championships 0 for 3 in the slam events. "He's not quite the player he was," says Nimick. "He's playing competently, but not nearly as explosively as before. His game is missing snap. For the first time, the other guys sense there's meat in the water."
The glass booth in which the final was played had the air of a shark tank. A frenzied school of stockbrokers, insurance executives and investment bankers watched hungrily as Todd Binns of Australia swatted the ball away from Talbott at near-impossible angles, making him scramble and retrieve. Talbott effortlessly covered the court with a cool grace. For more than an hour, Binns fired while Talbott fetched. "It was gun versus run," says Nimick. Run won 18-14, 6-15, 15-12, 15-11.
After the final point, Michelle jabbed the air with her fist. She had spent the afternoon rehearsing for her own competition uptown at Columbia University two days later. "I loved that look in your eyes when you won," said Michelle. "What a great inspiration for me."
Mark took her hand. "Let's go out tomorrow to celebrate," he said. "Maybe you can bring the cello."
There's always room for cello.