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2018-01-19 14:16:00 CET

Kerri happy to play the waiting game

Patience is key this time for three-time Olympic champ

Kerri plans to make her comeback in China in April - which means she'll miss the Fort Lauderdale MajorKerri plans to make her comeback in China in April - which means she'll miss the Fort Lauderdale Major

American beach volleyball icon Kerri Walsh Jennings has ruled herself out of next month’s Fort Lauderdale Major.

Usually, such a decision for the three-time Olympic champion – in this case, to miss the first five-star tournament of the season – would frustrate the hell out of one of the sport’s most competitive and successful stars and she’d be chomping at the bit to get back on the sand.

Not this time.

“For the first time in my career I’m taking my time to come back,” explains Kerri, who’s recovering from a dislocated shoulder she sustained last season in Poland. What’s more, she is totally okay with it. They’ll be no rushing back to jeopardize the rest of an important season.

“The last time I came back from an injury it was too soon,” admits the 39-year-old. “After my last surgery, before Rio, I hustled myself back too quickly. I’ve learned that isn’t the way – now I want to be smart.

“Don’t get me wrong it was initially very hard to make this decision. It’s tough to resist the temptation to come back but I’ve spoken to many people and felt this is the best way to go about it.”

While regular teammate Nicole Branagh will team up with Lauren Fendrick in Fort Lauderdale, Walsh Jennings has her sights set on a return to the beach at the four-star event in Xiamen, China in April.

“March 8 will be the first practice,” says Kerri. “From now on it’s all about building a solid foundation to be as strong as possible to be able to kick some ass later in the season.

“I’m excited at the prospect of feeling sharp and healthy. This situation and being a bit more patient is a little different, and a little new, for me but perhaps I’m getting some more wisdom with age!”

Hard to tell in this pic, but my right leg & tooshie were literally on 🔥.... On the inside ☺️! (Earmuffs please 😔😏🤬) I ❤️ you @kerrywacht @contrologiepilates ❤️🙏💪🦋🦁 #pilates #harderthanitlooks

2,851 Likes, 16 Comments - Kerri Walsh Jennings (@kerrileewalsh) on Instagram: "Hard to tell in this pic, but my right leg & tooshie were literally on 🔥.... On the inside ☺️!..."

There aren’t many players that promote the virtues of beach volleyball more than Walsh – however, even as a spectator, she won’t be making the trip to Florida next month.

“I think that would push me over the edge,” she jokes. “It would be hard for me to go to a tournament and not be able to play.

“I’ll use it as some inspiration though to focus on preparing for the comeback in April.”

Even though Kerri won’t be there – we will – and we hope you can too! The Fort Lauderdale Major begins on February 27 until March. Find out more on ticketing and VIP hospitality on our tournament microsite.

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