Amanda Sobhy
Favorite Location: Pforzheimer Hastings Room
Photographs By John Y Wang
Amanda K. Sobhy
By Henry S. U. Shah, Contributing Writer
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Amanda K. Sobhy is the only American, male or female, to ever win the squash World Junior Championship. She\'s the 10th-ranked woman in the world. Sobhy has been the collegiate national individual champion since her freshman year, and has led her team to two team championships in 2012 and 2013.

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Sobhy frequently starts sentences with "when I go pro," before enthusiastically detailing her post-graduation plans. She\'s already set.

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"You have to base yourself somewhere. You need your team of people. I\'m going to base myself in Boston. I\'ve been here for four years and I have so many people who can help me," Sobhy says.

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I asked her to meet in her favorite place, but we\'re not sitting courtside at the Murr Center, the home of the Harvard squash. We\'re in a cozy living room in Pforzheimer House. She adjusts her DHA sweatpants and walks over to the piano.

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"The squash courts would be so obvious,” Sobhy explains. “I love to do other stuff besides squash. Off the courts, I\'ve spent a lot of my time here because I really like to sit down at the piano and sight read pop songs and sing to them."

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Singing and house life complement a rigorous training and competition regimen. Sobhy\'s "outside coach," Thierry Lincou, was the men\'s world No. 1 starting at age 24. The college schedule works with the flow of the international circuit. Sobhy travels to tournaments throughout J-term and follows an intense workout regimen during the summer.

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"There are a ton of tournaments overseas that I never got to play,” she says. “Either in high school or here. It\'ll be interesting when I fully go pro. I\'ll be able to go to Macao and Monte Carlo."
She\'s maintained a high level of play in college. She keeps up with team practice, whether with the men\'s or women\'s teams.

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"I play with the guy’s team and get matches,” Sobhy says. “I still train with the girl’s team. The level of play is different, but I have conditions and restrictions to make it interesting for both of us."

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Sobhy\'s parents helped her make the choice to head to Harvard rather than going pro right after high school. Both of her parents played at a professional level. Her father was her coach until a few months ago. "[My parents, siblings, and I] always check online to see how people are doing,” she mentions. “We have a little group chat, we always post our results there first."

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Sobhy misses singing. She sang in a choir from 4th through 12th grade.

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"I sang one semester in choir, the Harvard-Radcliffe Chorus,” she says. “One time a week for three hours, it was too much of a time commitment."

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Sobhy sees a future fusion between her athletic and academic interests. "I\'ll want to build a squash academy in the U.S., a universal base that everyone can go to for training, coaching, building a life around the game. I would love to help build that up. It\'s been growing a lot in the last few years."

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It\'s also about creating a more democratic sport. "There should be places for people to get exposed to squash without it being seen as an upper-class country club type experience," she suggests.

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For now, she\'s focused on maintaining the balance she\'s carefully built over three and a half years at Harvard. "At the start, it was a lot of time management, knowing what to do to stay alive,” Sobhy says. “At this point, I\'m on top of my game."

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