IT SEEMS there's no better place to spend Christmas than at Yamba.
Most of our globe-trotting sport stars seem to come out of the beach town, and it's no wonder they come back to spend summer by the Valley's slice of the Pacific Ocean.
Despite the pristine beaches being a strong lure, Cameron Pilley's reason for returning to Yamba is simple - it's home.
Now based in The Hague, near Amsterdam in Holland, the 30- year-old squash star spent a month in Yamba after what he described as a disappointing year.
"I'd have to say that it wasn't my best year," Pilley said.
"I managed to keep in the top 20, but it really wasn't a standout year.
"There were a few disappointing and bad results, so I'll be happy to turn them around."
After a few solid years on the international circuit, Pilley's ranking has hovered between 11 and 20 - and rests on 18 at the start of 2013.
The biggest tournament of Pilley's year was the Santiago Open in October.
While providing a highlight when he defeated No.1 seed Adrian Grant 3-0. It also provided his biggest disappointment of the year.
"I was really happy to reach the final and beating the top-seeded player gave me a massive boost," Pilley said.
"Going into the final I was really keen on continuing the winning form and thought I would get up.
"As it turned out, Simon (Rosner, No.3 seed) was on the same kind of wave and he ended up winning 3-1."
Pilley has put his inconsistent year behind him and has set a goal of reaching the top 10 by year's end.
He has spent the past week training in Brisbane ahead of the Tournament of Champions in New York later this month.
While the prospect of leaving Australia's hot summer for the cold winter of the Northern Hemisphere isn't inviting, Pilley was keen to start his season with the best result.
"I've got an invitational tournament just before the Tournament of Champions so it should be good preparation," Pilley said.
"There's a few former world champions involved so it's going to be a pretty good hitout."
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