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Anil Nayar is busy running a sandal and lobster-tail export business in India, but as far as Harvard's squash coach Jack Barnaby is concerned, Nayar himself is India's best export.
This past Sunday the young athlete-entrepreneur won the Intercollegiate Singles Championship for the second straight year. Nayar won impressively, losing only 1 of 19 games, but the victory he wants most has eluded him so far.
The big one, the World Series of squash, is the U.S. Nationals, which no Harvard man has taken since Germain G. Glidden '36. Peter Martin of McGill eliminated the Indian in the second round of that tournament this year, yet Nayar had beaten Martin three times earlier during the season. One of those times was at the Canadian Nationals, which Nayar won, and where Colin Adair, the man who took the U.S. Nationals, was eliminated before the finals.
Squash After School
Nayar's interest in squash began when he and some friends got together to play afternoons after school. "The Cricket Club of India was just next door to our house in Bombay," he said, and he practiced on its squash courts for two years without instruction.
After a year with the club pro he entered the Indian National Juniors, and was promptly beaten in the first round. Two years later he was the Junior Champion. The next season, playing in two tournaments at the same time, he won both the Junior and the Men's Championships.
Nayar planned to attend Cambridge University, until he learned of a series of entrance examinations which would have held him up for a year. He wrote to Harvard in June of 1965 and was accepted in July.
Nayar joined Harvard's varsity last year as a sophomore. Coach Jack Barnaby said that his greatest strength is his "extraordinary fleetness of foot and ability to retrieve shots," which lets him play an apparently reckless game. Sharp, quick wrist shots that hide his moves are another advantage he has over most collegiate players, who use a full-arm swing.
The switch to American squash has forced Nayar to change his style. In India English squash balls are used. They're softer than those used here, and consequently corner shots are faster in American play. "I haven't yet learned to anticipate these corner shots," Nayar said.
After graduating from Harvard, Nayar said, he plans to attend business school or get an advanced degree in economics, with an eye on politics. When he finally completes his education, he'll return to India to solidify the sandal and lobster business.
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