2017-01-19 14:14:00 CEST
Olympic and Swatch World Tour Finals champs all set for Fort Lauderdale
The undisputed kings of beach volleyball in 2016 can’t wait to kick off the new season in style at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park.
It’s fair to say last year was a pretty good one for Brazilians Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt. The hard work and months of intense preparation and sacrifices were all worth it when they topped the podium at the Copacabana with Olympic gold medals hanging around their necks.
Oh, and they went and topped that achievement by storming to Swatch World Tour Finals glory in Toronto.
But that’s all in the past now and the duo are already focused on 2017. Back on the sand training hard in Vila Velha (where they live), their first challenge this year will be the João Pessoa stop of the National Tour between January 21-23, two weeks before they bounce back onto the international scene at our very own Fort Lauderdale Major.
“We had a long break this year and we needed it,” Bruno, who was voted Most Outstanding Player by his fellow pros in 2016, exclusively told swatchmajorseries.com
“We had to take care of our bodies. We are entering our 30s now and each year it gets harder to restart, but it is a fun challenge at the same time. We want to start the season in good shape, playing well and this is what motivates us when we touch the sand every day.”
As the Fort Lauderdale Major moves tantalizingly closer, the Brazilian pair have plenty of motivation for more fun in the sun in Florida as they bid to recreate the stunning performance at the exact same venue when they scooped World Tour Finals gold in 2015.
“Fort Lauderdale is a passionate city. It is my favorite place in Florida and I loved playing there,” says Bruno. “When we are competing, we have to rest and prepare for the next matches, but it is so tough to keep the focus there, as we have lots of cool things to do around the venue.
“We also have a lot of supporters, as many Brazilians live in the south of Florida. In 2015, even facing an American team in the final, half of the people in the stands were wearing yellow and green.”
With the new season fast approaching, Bruno is looking forward to going head-to-head with an array of new talent and teams who have assembled in the off season.
It’s a case of ‘bring it on’ as the pair focus on realizing another stellar season which also includes the Swatch Beach Volleyball World Championships in Vienna.
“We know that after an Olympic cycle it is usual that many teams change their formations around the world as it happened now,” said Schmidt. “We have to be ready for it. Many countries are very strong in beach volleyball nowadays, like the Netherlands, Italy and Russia, but Brazil and the United States have very talented teams that know each other very well.”
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