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2018-02-28 17:12:00 CEST

Germans out to make history in the US

Laboureur/Sude going for gold at Fort Lauderdale Major after bronze last year

Julia (left) and Chantal celebrate on their way to victory in the bronze medal match last yearJulia (left) and Chantal celebrate on their way to victory in the bronze medal match last year

Twelve months ago, Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude were the only European team to stand on the podium at the Fort Lauderdale Major in 2017.

After their bronze medal on the golden sands of Eastern Florida, the Germans went onto enjoy another excellent season that saw them win the Gstaad Major and finish the year as the third best women’s team in the world.

Now they have eyes on making history by becoming the first female team from Europe to win a tournament on US sand.

And they got off to the perfect start by beating American team Emily Day and Brittany Hochevar in straight sets in Pool C.

“To win a medal in the first tournament is always very exciting,” Chantal told us. “In the beginning of the year, you don’t know where you will stand compared to the other teams, so it was nice to win a medal and we want to repeat it this year.

“Last year there were two Brazilian teams in front of us, we couldn’t beat them. We weren’t surprised, but happy. We know that we can be dangerous for every team if we play well and we have to focus more in our way of playing.

“It seems to be difficult for Europeans here. We’ll try to break this. The Americans are very strong and I think they push each other more in their country.”

The Germans were the only male or female team to medal in Fort Lauderdale 12 months agoThe Germans were the only male or female team to medal in Fort Lauderdale 12 months ago

The pair are Europe’s leading lights when it comes to the beach but often find themselves in the shadow of Olympic and World Champions Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, who have also won the World Tour Finals in the past two seasons.

Julia says maintaining their level of performance on the Beach Volleyball Major Series is the best way to lift their profile among a host of top-level German teams.

“If we win medals, people will be more interested in us and will follow our journey,” says Sude, who recently became the first European to medal on the Brazilian tour in 20 years. “Kira and Laura did a great job. They didn’t play in many tournaments, but they won the World Championships and the Olympic gold medal, which was the first one for German women.

“People were really happy and it gave a boost to the media and also brought some attention, which is also good for us to hopefully get some sponsors. We are quite satisfied. We have managers who are trying to put us in the media as much as they can and we had much more interview requests than in last years.”

The team have come a long way in the last two years. They won the Poreč Major in 2016 and are now mainstays in the main draw.

But that wasn’t always the case – as they often had to play country quota and qualification before reaching pool play.

“In Germany you cannot relax because if you do that, another team will take the chance. But it’s good to grow with this pressure,” says Chantal. “That helps all of us to be stable and consistent. You are always being evaluated. For the last two years we’ve been able to play in the main draw after going through qualification and country-quota and we’re happy we got rid of it!

“Country-quota games are always strange. There are several games in one. It changes all the time and we are always suffering with these teams because we know how hard it us. It’s like a cup game in soccer.”

After a winning start, the Germans will face Australians Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy to decide the winner of Pool C. You can see that game – and every match from the tournament – live on BeachStream.

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