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2018-02-25 23:03:00 CEST

Main draw mission for Menegatti

Italian star hopes the good times will return in 2018

Marta Menegatti wants to climb back up the World Rankings - starting in Fort LauderdaleMarta Menegatti wants to climb back up the World Rankings - starting in Fort Lauderdale

Marta Menegatti is on a mission to reclaim her place among the beach elite.

The Italian has not had it easy over the past two years. Former teammate Viktoria Orsi Toth was banned from the Olympics in Rio in 2016 and has been suspended on the World Tour since. Last season Marta played with Rebecca Perry but that partnership came to end late last year.

It meant Menegatti is starting again, this time with long-time friend Laura Giombini, who answered the call and stepped in at the last minute in Rio to replace Orsi Toth on the Copacabana.

It’s a situation that the 27-year-old is no stranger to. It’s one she’s trying to embrace in her quest to get back to the kind of form that made her one of the most consistent players on the international beach volleyball tour.

The most recent change in team personnel has led to Menegatti taking necessary but drastic action to even make the qualification stage of the Fort Lauderdale Major – like flying to Australia earlier this month to play in a one-star event.

In the end it was worth travelling across the world for. The bronze medal and the combined 160 ranking points were enough to secure Marta and Laura their place among the 32 teams in qualification stage which kicks off on Tuesday.

“I love this sport and it doesn’t bother me if I have to restart and begin from the bottom,” Menegatti admits. “I want to gain the position I had before. I know I have to work and fight a lot. It will take me some time but I’m confident I can get there.”

The bronze medal was a rare success for Menegatti. The 2016 season saw her win two World Tour medals and finish in the top 10 in all but one of the 14 tournaments she took part in. Since the suspension of Orsi Toth she’s only finished in the top 10 once in her last 10 tournaments.

But having already played together in the pressure situation of the an Olympic Games, the pair are looking forward to trying to winning more points and climbing up the World Rankings – starting in Florida on Tuesday.

“It’s been difficult – really hard,” Marta laughs. The loud is a sign of relief more than anything – that her rollercoaster career of recent times is now becoming more settled. “We went to Australia knowing what we had to do because we needed the points,” she continues. “That will be the same mentality here and throughout the season.

“We will work hard in every match and try and make as many points as possible so that it’s possible to compete in the big tournaments, like the Major Series, on a more consistent basis.

“We’ve had to face many difficulties but we’re trying to enjoy ourselves and overcome all of the situations we’ve faced.”

One of the challenges the pair face was deciding which of the two would be the blocker, given both are naturally defensive players.

“Laura will be!” smiles Menegatti. “In the Olympics she did a lot of blocking so our coach made the final decision.

“She respects and trusts me a lot and together we have a lot of experience and I think that helps us a lot.

“It’s the start of a new path for both of us and it’s very exciting.”

Remember you can catch every game from the Fort Lauderdale Major live by subscribing to BeachStream. Click here for further information.

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