This is why we play.

Because squash is not an Olympic sport, winning a gold medal at a commonwealth games is the pinnacle.

Every four years, this is what it is all about.

The prep has been solid this time around in comparison to my lead-in for the 2014 Glasgow event.

While I hail from Yamba in northern New South Wales, I’m based in Denmark for most of the year.

I travel all around the globe and play in up to 20 major world tournaments every year throughout the Middle East, North America and South America as well Europe.

Most recently I played in the Swedish Open, Canary Wharf Classic in London and the Windy City Open in Chicago.

For those unfamiliar with the sport, the Windy City Open is one of squash’s major seasonal tournaments!

And has been raising the bar in terms of prize money with the city next year marking the squash’s first million dollar event.

Every squash player in the world seeks to turn in their best performance at the Windy City Open, and I’m delighted that I was able to do exactly that in Chicago.

I knocked off one of squash’s greatest ever players in England’s Nick Matthew; defeating the #5 seed in the second round, making it through the quarter finals to be one of the final eight left standing.

Deservedly so, Nick is the #1 player in the commonwealth; so to take him down 3-1 was a good boost of confidence, and reassurance that I am playing my best squash right now.

I’ve defeated him a few times in the past but it’s been quite a few years since I was able to take home the bragging rights.

When I saw I was up against him, I wasn’t even thinking about the Commonwealth Games. It did not even enter into my head the significance of the result.

Cameron Pilley exclusive insight

All I could think about was how I could control the game on my terms, and get the win.

It wasn’t until a couple of days later, when one of my support staff came up to me and said, “Wow – what is a timely win with the commonwealth games coming soon.”

It hadn’t actually sunk in that that match, could be pivotal in my preparation leading into these games.

Looking back, I’m glad I did not put too much emphasis on the result, or approach the match any differently to how I would.

Because (a) it suggests I am playing high level squash at the current time and (b) what I am doing is working, so simply keep up the routine I am building through my lead-in work.

With the commonwealth games now upon Nick and I, I am sure that in the back in my mind (and his as well) that the win might prove as an edge for me going into the rounds.

We go every day throughout the Commonwealth Games, with the first week marking the singles events before the doubles kick in.

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Because of this, it can be a tough and grinding two weeks of play.

You have to be physically prepared, as you do mentally.

Thankfully, having won gold at the 2014 commonwealth games in Glasgow, I can draw on previous experience to help me through.

Because if you are playing all three formats (singles, mixed and gender) than you’re playing squash every single day throughout the games, and the toll is taxing on your body.

And once you get passed the stage rounds and into the finals brackets, it is a whole different ball game.

There is pressure in any match you play, but when it’s finals beckons, everyone is put under the microscope and that is when the champions of the sport rise to the top.