Aussie targets top-eight place in World Series Finals
By NATHAN CLARKE
Australian number one Cameron Pilley, the World No.14, says the chance to compete in front of the Burj Khalifa during the 2015-16 Dubai PSA World Series Finals will be inspiring him ahead of the last PSA World Series tournament of the season, this month’s El Gouna International.
Pilley, the hardest hitter in World Squash, having been timed at 178mph on the Squash Mad radar gun, travels to Egypt holding the last qualification spot on the PSA Road To Dubai Standings. But he knows he will have to perform at his best to hold on to his chances of competing in this showpiece event.
The Finals bring together the top eight players on the Road To Dubai Standings to compete for one of the most lucrative purses in the sport at $160,000, and fend off a field of rivals who are in contention to qualify in one of four available places.
“After seeing the pictures come out last week I have to say it looks absolutely amazing and it would be awesome to get a chance to play there,” said Pilley.
“I’ve been close to reaching the World Series Finals before on a couple of occasions and I’m in contention at the moment so it would be a great achievement for me to get the chance to play in such a great location.
“The Burj Khalifa is an iconic location and having the court right in front of it looks spectacular so I’m looking forward to El Gouna to really push for a spot in that eight.”
The Australian reached his first ever PSA World Series tournament final in December during the Hong Kong Open in the midst of his best ever form but has failed to progress beyond the second round of a major tournament since. However, the 33-year-old is keen to avoid any pressure ahead of a crunch week in El Gouna.
“It would mean a lot to be there,” he said. “I watched the tournament a lot even before I was a pro and seeing the top eight compete in the Finals was always special. I’ve never done it so it’s a goal to be there.
“I have made mistakes in the past when thinking too much about ‘what if’ so I’ll go to El Gouna as relaxed as I can be and just try to play my best and see what happens.”
Pilley begins his El Gouna International campaign against World No.4 Omar Mosaad on April 24, when victory would see the 33-year-old take a huge step towards securing his place in Dubai.
The 2016 El Gouna International takes place from April 21-24 at the Movenpick hotel El Gouna and 24-29 at the New Marina El Gouna.