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2017-02-09 17:08:00 CET

Have fun and keep it loose

Saxton/Schalk set for the new season

Saxton/Schalk celebrate during the Swatch World Tour Finals in Toronto.Saxton/Schalk celebrate during the Swatch World Tour Finals in Toronto.

Canadians Ben Saxton and Chaim Schalk are backing themselves to improve on the success of last season in 2017 – starting at the Fort Lauderdale Major.

The likeable duo won bronze at Poreč Major and the A1 Major Klagenfurt last summer before finishing fourth at the Swatch World Tour Finals on home sand in Toronto.

They are the only Canadian men’s team competing here who have stuck together following an off-season of change in North America and Ben and Chaim are hoping that can be the difference this season.

“We’ve got that little bit of extra chemistry for certain situations as we’re more experienced as a team,” Ben told us. “That will always get teams through whereas new partnerships will still be finding that connection.

“When it’s close at the end of the match we know what to expect from each other and we think that will stand us in good stead.”

The Canadians have become one of the most consistent and feared teams on the World Tour over the past two years and Chaim explains trust, hard work and fun are behind the improvement.

“We keep learning every year and feel as though our progression is down to the fact we enjoy ourselves,” he says. “The dynamic between me, Ben and our coach is great and we all trust each other.

“We have fun and keep it loose – that’s our motto. Throw in some hard work and if we can do all of those things we have a chance to go far.

“We’re not putting crazy expectations on this tournament. It’s the first of many but we’ll find our rhythm here, get ready and prepare for a battle like we always do.”

If you missed it earlier this week, Ben is writing his own blog – Sax on the Beach – on swatchmajorseries.com after we discovered his writing talents on Twitter.

So what made him take up typing his thoughts down and pushing them online?

“It started as a way to keep in touch with my parents as I’m not the best at keeping touch with people,” grins Ben. “My mum would be mad if I didn’t call so that’s why it began.

“So I just started writing my thoughts down on a computer. I don’t really know who my audience is but I guess I will now!

“The blog is a good way of putting my thoughts on beach volleyball out there.”

You can catch all of Ben and Chaim’s matches during the Fort Lauderdale Major live on our BeachStream – and watch back their previous matches in the competition again on our on-demand service. Click here for all the action.

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