Prague, Czech Republic, May 11, 2011 - The FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour will arrive in the Czech Republic next week for the first single gender men’s tournament of the 2011 season.
Last year's podium in Prague (from left to right) Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti of Brazil, Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers of USA and Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann of Germany
After visiting Brazil and China the Prague Open is also the first World Tour event in Europe this year.
All eyes in the Stvanice Arena will be focussed on USA’s Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers, and not only because they will be defending their title in Prague. The reigning Olympic Champions had a flying start to the season as they seized gold at the Brasilia and Shanghai Open, the first two events of 2011. Not having lost a single match this season (12-0), they extended their World Tour consecutive winning streak to a new men’s record of 35 victories while also conquering another men’s record of seven-straight World Tour event titles.
The duo said before the season began that they did not expect to surpass the nine gold medals they won last year, but at this rate it is something they could easily accomplish.
So who will be able to stop them in Prague? Compatriots and losing finalists in Shanghai, Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal could be more successful this time. A lot will also be expected from reigning world champions Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann of Germany, who were hampered by injuries last year, but seem to have resurged with a fifth place finish in Brasilia and bronze in Shanghai. The Brazilian teams, surprisingly not represented in the final four in Shanghai, will be looking to recover.
For local favourites Petr Benes and Premysl Kubala the Prague Open will be their first 2011 event, as Kubala just finished his indoor season last week.
“The fact that we have not had that much time to coordinate our game together before this tournament will not be a problem, as we are experienced players and are familiar with this tournament from two previous seasons,”, Kubala said.
The Czech duo finished 17th in Prague last year, with a fifth place ranking in Stare Jablonski, Poland in 2010 being their best World Tour result so far.
Both players are counting heavily on the home advantage.
“I am a very emotional player and I like to play in front of a roaring audience,” Kubala added. “When they are on your side, it is great. The Prague arena is excellent and the audience has always shown amazing support. I am really looking forward to the event.”
The FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH World Tour will visit Prague for the third time in its two-decade history. In 2008 Gibb/Rosenthal won the event while last year Dalhausser/Rogers clinched the title as Brazilians Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego took silver and Brink/Reckermann were rewarded with bronze.
The US$190,000 Prague Open 2011 will be played from May 17 and 22 with the semifinals held on Saturday and the medal matches scheduled for Sunday. After that the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour will return to China for the first Grand Slam of the year in Beijing from June 6 to 11, before returning to Europe for the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Championships in Rome from June 13 to 19). The only other 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour single-gender men’s event will be held in October in Agadir, Morocco.
Men’s FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour
All-Time “Open” Final 4s – Myslowice, Poland
Including Open, Grand Slam, Olympics stops through 2010
Poland - Myslowice (5/26-31/09), $190,000 No. 233
1. Alison Cerutti/Harley Marques, BRAZIL, $30,000
2. Matt Fuerbringer/Casey Jennings, UNITED STATES, $21,000
3. Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal, UNITED STATES, $15,000
4. Julius Brink/Jonas Reckermann, GERMANY, $11,200
Poland - Myslowice (5/25-30/10), $190,000 No. 247
1. Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers, UNITED STATES, $30,000
2. Adrian Gavira Collado/Pablo Herrera, SPAIN, $21,000
3. Julius Brink/Jonas Reckermann, GERMANY, $15,000
4. AlisonCerutti/Emanuel Rego, BRAZIL, $11,200