Twice a runner-up at Australia’s premier squash tournament, Pilley is heading into the Open full of confidence after training the house down during an off-season spent at his European base in the Dutch city of The Hague.
Pilley has been working alongside Dutch number one LJ Anjema and fellow Australian Steve Finitsis and said he was feeling in top shape ahead of the Australian Open.
“I had a great off-season of training and I will have had two weeks in Australia sharpening up before Canberra,” he said.
The 29-year-old had possibly his most disappointing 12 months of his career last season as a combination of bad draws and poor results resulted in a fall of six places on the world rankings to number 20.
“I had a look at my past seasons and you know, I hadn’t really had a bad season in my whole career, so last year was my worst results wise,” he said.
“I drew the short straw with the draw in quite a few tournaments which was very annoying, but there were a couple of other losses that I wasn’t really happy with.”
Pilley will play a qualifier in the first round and then could have to play a trio of Egyptians – Omar Abdel Aziz, third seed Omar Mosaad and top seed Ramy Ashour – if he wants to make a third Australian Open final.
“I don’t mind playing Egyptians, I have a decent record against them,” he pointed out.
“If it goes according to seedings, Omar Mosaad in the quarter-finals will be my big match as he’s third seed and I’m fifth seed.
“But it’s the first tournament of the season for a lot of the guys and some will be ironing the wrinkles out.
“I generally play well in the first tournament, but there are some players who play great practice matches in training but find their first competitive match a different kettle of fish.
“It should be an interesting tournament.”
The Australian Open gets underway on the all-glass court at Canberra’s Royal Theatre on Monday 13th August.