Ludwig and Goller looking for greater consistency at London 2012
Laura Ludwig (left) and Sara Goller are aiming to improve on a ninth-place finish at Beijing when they take to th courts in London|
London, Great Britain, July 28, 2012 - German pair Laura Ludwig and Sara Goller have been one of the most consistent teams on the FIVB SWATCH World Tour since they burst onto the scene in 2007 and are now hoping to transfer that consistency to the courts at Horse Guard’s Parade during the London 2012 Olympic Games.
This year they have returned to their best form, with their best performance at the smart Grand Slam, Rome. In the Eternal City they finished with the silver medal having beaten 2011 FIVB world champions Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca and 2009 world champions April Ross and Jennifer Kessy.
While they are still waiting to win their first World Tour gold medal they know that when they are on song they are a challenge for any of the teams on the Tour.
“We can be really happy with some of our games because we have played really well, and a lot of good games when we’ve been at 100 per cent,” Ludwig said.
“Some games when we’ve gone close against good teams, we’ve got to three sets, but not been able to get the winning points. We haven’t had a lot of results that we’ve really wanted such as semi-finals and finals, but all in all it has been a really good season.”
Ludwig and Goller are one of a handful of teams that have helped raise the profile of European beach volleyball to challenge the traditional powers of Brazil, USA and China.
They were European champions in 2008 and 2010, third in 2011 as Italians Marta Menegatti and Greta Cicolari took their continental crown and then finished outside of the medals when Dutch pair Sanne Keizer and Marleen van Iersel won gold this year.
“This season and last season, the level was so high,” Goller said. “We reached the semi-finals on the World Tour, Belgium made a semi-final at Gstaad and they didn’t even qualify for the Olympics. The one team that I thought was really consistent and definitely going to get a medal here (Chen Xue and Zhang Xi, China) lost this morning to Russia (Anastasia Vasina and Anna Vozakova).
“It is so close. We have played well, but lost 15-13 because the other team was just a little bit better. I think this is a good time. I can’t really name one or two. Russia (Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Khomyakova) won in Klagenfurt and then the other team have just beaten China. The Swiss girls (Simone Kuhn and Nadine Zumkehr) won in Rome and the Italian girls are very consistent and the Dutch girls are very good. I could name 10 European teams that have a chance.”
London 2012 represents the second Olympic Games that Ludwig and Goller have competed in. At Beijing 2008 they progressed through pool play, but fell at the second knockout round to finish in ninth place. This year Ludwig feels that it is imperative that they get the mental side of their preparation correct if they want to improve on that result.
“Our aim is to play well and concentrate on ourselves,” she said. “We don’t want to say we definitely want to win a medal. We can know we can get to a semi or final, but here it is totally different and you are more nervous at the start, so you have to get it right mentally; just so long as we are happy when we leave the court.”