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Moscow Grand Slam | Women
  11/07/2011 - 16/07/2011

Evgenia Ukolova counts on home advantage in Moscow

Russia's Evgenia Ukolova is hoping for great results for her and Ekaterina Khomyakova in hometown Moscow
Moscow, Russia, July 11, 2011 - 22-year old Evgenia Ukolova will be counting on home advantage this week to turn things around for her and Ekaterina Khomyakova as the Russian duo get ready to compete at the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour Moscow Grand Slam.

So far their best finish on the Swatch World Tour this season has been 17th in Myslowice, Poland and at the World Championships in Rome, Italy. Khomyakova, 23, is Ukolova’s second partner in a few months, as she started the season with Anastasia Vasina. It has been two years since Ukolova won her only FIVB Swatch World Tour medal, bronze in Phuket in 2009 with Maria Bratkova. Khomyakova has yet to win her first medal.

Evgenia, the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour stops in your hometown this week. What does that mean to you?
The home event is particularly important to me. First of all, in Moscow you feel the support from relatives and friends, which is often missing when you are playing at the other stages of the World tour. The fans here in Moscow really become your third player on the sand. Secondly, it is impossible to describe what you are feeling when the central court and the whole stadium is cheering "Russia!" It gives you an incredible emotional drive.

The start of the season was not as good as you would like. I understand that it is difficult to analyze it now, but still. What went wrong?
What needs to be changed? You are right, it is a little bit difficult to jump to any conclusions. In my opinion, the new team combinations that were made by our coaches at the beginning of the season played an important role. Now we need to focus on interacting with each other.

Do you have a feeling that here in Moscow it will be ok?
We will do everything to turn this around! I do not know whether there is a feeling like you said ... I cannot say for sure – Katya and I will make every effort not to be ashamed for our performance on the home sands of Poklonnaya Gora. You travel a lot around the world.

Can you give an objective opinion on the level of organization here in Moscow?
Moscow is one of the most unusual stages of the World Tour! This is due to the location of the venue. It is in a historic place, so that also attracts a large number of spectators who might never know about the existence of such a sport like beach volleyball. In my opinion, this is great! Thanks to the organizers and sponsors, all persons involved at this tournament. Everything here is at the highest international level.
You are talking to a lot of foreign players. What do they think of Moscow?
Everyone, of course, is impressed by the Red Square. Many of them ask about organizing a trip to this magnificent place. And, frankly, some of the athletes were very disappointed that the hotel casino was closed.
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