Pili? at the 1975 Dutch Open in Hilversum in July 1975
|Born||27 August 1939|
Split, Croatian Banovina, Kingdom of Yugoslavia
|Height||1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|Turned pro||1968 (amateur tour from 1960)|
|Plays||Left-handed (one-handed backhand)|
|Highest ranking||No. 6 (1968, Lance Tingay)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|Australian Open||3R (1970)|
|French Open||F (1973)|
|US Open||QF (1973)|
|US Pro||QF (1968)|
|Wembley Pro||QF (1968)|
|French Pro||QF (1968)|
|Career record||143-134 (Open era)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|Australian Open||QF (1970)|
|French Open||4R (1969, 1976–77)|
|US Open||W (1970)|
Pili? was born in Split, Croatian Banovina, Kingdom of Yugoslavia to Krsto Pili? and Danica Tomi?-Feri? just five days before the outbreak of World War II that began on the 1st of September 1939 with the German invasion of Poland.
The youngster took up tennis during the summer of 1952. Thirteen years of age at this point, he began practicing on the Firule tennis club clay courts in parallel to studying shipbuilding at the streamlined high school in Split. Upon graduating he attempted to enroll at a community college (vi?a ?kola) in Zagreb, but due to not meeting the entrance criteria ended up in Novi Sad where he studied administration (vi?a upravna ?kola).
Pilic reached the semi finals of Wimbledon 1967, beating Roy Emerson before losing to John Newcombe. Then open tennis arrived and Pilic was one of the Handsome Eight, a group of players signed by Lamar Hunt in 1968 for the newly formed professional World Championship Tennis (WCT) group.
In 1970, Pili? won the men's doubles title at the US Open together with his French partner Pierre Barthès by defeating the Australians John Newcombe and Rod Laver in four sets. His best singles performance at a Grand Slam tournament came in 1973 when he reached the final of the French Open but lost to Ilie N?stase in three straight sets.
Pili? was the catalyst to the 1973 Wimbledon boycott. In May of that year, the Yugoslav tennis federation alleged that Pili? had refused to represent them in a Davis Cup tie against New Zealand earlier that month. Pili? denied the charge, but was suspended by the federation, and the suspension was upheld by the ILTF, albeit decreased from nine months to one month, meaning that he could not enter the Wimbledon Championships. In protest at the suspension, 81 of Pili?'s fellow professionals, organized into the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), and including 13 of the 16 seeds, withdrew from the 1973 Wimbledon Championships.
|Loss||1973||French Open||Clay||Ilie N?stase||3-6, 3-6, 0-6|
|Loss||1962||Wimbledon||Grass||Boro Jovanovi?|| Bob Hewitt
|2-6, 7-5, 2-6, 4-6|
|Win||1970||US Open||Grass||Pierre Barthès|| Roy Emerson
|6-3, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6|
|Australian Open||A||A||2R||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||3R||2R||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||0 / 3|
|French Open||A||4R||2R||3R||4R||3R||A||A||A||2R||A||1R||A||F||A||3R||A||1R||2R||0 / 11|
|Wimbledon||2R||3R||2R||1R||2R||A||1R||SF||1R||1R||2R||3R||A||A||3R||1R||4R||3R||A||0 / 15|
|US Open||A||A||1R||A||A||1R||A||3R||4R||3R||4R||4R||4R||QF||A||A||A||A||A||0 / 9|
|Strike rate||0 / 1||0 / 2||0 / 4||0 / 2||0 / 2||0 / 2||0 / 1||0 / 2||0 / 2||0 / 3||0 / 3||0 / 4||0 / 1||0 / 2||0 / 1||0 / 2||0 / 1||0 / 2||0 / 1|
Note: The Australian Open was held twice in 1977, in January and December.
After retiring from playing tennis professionally, Pili? began coaching and became the first captain to win the Davis Cup trophy for three nations: Germany in 1988, 1989 and 1993, Croatia in 2005 and Serbia in 2010. He's been working with Serbia Davis Cup team in the adviser role since 2007, and won the Davis Cup title in 2010.
He runs a tennis academy in Oberschleißheim near Munich where he resides. Professional champions such as Michael Stich, Novak Djokovic, Ernests Gulbis and Anastasija Sevastova developed and came through the Pilic academy.
In 2020 he was awarded the Golden medal of merits of Republic of Serbia.