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2018-02-14 15:50:00 CET

Can they do it again?

Alvaro Filho and Saymon return to Fort Lauderdale aiming to repeat their qualification-to-gold medal campaign

Saymon (left) and Alvaro won the #FTLMajor in the 2017 seasonSaymon (left) and Alvaro won the #FTLMajor in the 2017 season

Alvaro Filho and Saymon Barbosa’s victory at the 2017 Fort Lauderdale Major was easily one of the highlights of last year’s beach volleyball World Tour season. The Brazilians stormed out of the qualification tournament in Florida to end the week in the top of the podium at the Red Bull Beach Arena last year.

One year has passed since then, Fort Lauderdale is set to kick-off the Major Series again from February 27 to March 4 and, guess what, Alvaro and Saymon will have the opportunity to repeat their feat.

Yes, the defending champions will start their campaign in the qualification tournament again and, believe us, they are not worried about that.

“Of course we’d love to start in the main draw, but it won’t disrupt us,” Saymon assured us. “To me, it only shows that we need to work harder than ever to accomplish our goals. But it won’t stop us. I have this déjà vu feeling about it. We showed last year that it’s possible to do it and we will approach the tournament exactly in the same way now. There will be hurdles, of course, but we are prepared to overcome them.”

Alvaro and Saymon’s mantra in Fort Lauderdale last year was to play each match as if it was a final. It has certainly worked and the duo, which finished 2017 as the fifth best team in the world, is ready to repeat the strategy in a couple of weeks.

To the 27-year-old Alvaro, who returned to Fort Lauderdale a couple of months ago for his honeymoon, it’s all about being focused and consistent.

 “When you are competing in the World Tour, you are playing against the best of the best, so it doesn’t matter if it’s the qualification tournament or the main draw,” he said. “If we want to win, and we do, we’ll have to approach every match in the same way and always play at our best.”

Alvaro and Saymon prevailed over soon-to-be world champions Evandro and Andre in an All-Brazilian final in the #FTLMajorAlvaro and Saymon prevailed over soon-to-be world champions Evandro and Andre in an All-Brazilian final in the #FTLMajor

One of their assets in the tournament will be the good form they already have early in the season. When the #FTLMajor starts, Alvaro and Saymon will have already played in three tournaments in 2018, two in the Brazilian Tour and one in the South American Tour, which saw they prevail over their continental rivals in Rosario, Argentina, in the second week of February.

“It is always great to win a tournament so early in the season,” the 24-year-old Saymon added. “It shows that we are committed about being a competitive team and it definitely boots our confidence to the Fort Lauderdale Major. The Brazilian Tour has already started as well and it’s great preparation for us. We are in good shape and will get there sharp.”

And if all of that is not enough to give Alvaro and Saymon a shot on repeating their historic victory, well, then perhaps the memories of a certain tournament one year ago can give the Brazilians that extra push.

“Our victory last season was really important,” Alvaro, the 2017 Sportsman of the Year, recalled. “It showed us how good and how competitive we could be. It was a huge motivation for the remainder of the year and we want to do it again.”

Game is on, guys!

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