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FIVB World Tour resumes in Switzerland at FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam

All three former winners in Switzerland, Brazil's Alvaro Filho, left, who is playing with Ricardo Santos, and USA's Phil Dalhausser, center, and Sean Rosenthal will be among the favorites at this week's US$800,000 FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam.
Lausanne, Switzerland, July 6, 2014 — With the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) headquartered in Switzerland, the FIVB will see its 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour resume after a one-week break on its home sand with the double-gender US$800,000 FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam this week.

The FIVB World Tour returns to Switzerland for the 14th consecutive year for men, the 15th straight year for a women’s tournament and all of the previous FIVB World Tour events in have all been in Gstaad.

The event will be the first of four consecutive FIVB Grand Slam tournaments being held in four separate countries—Switzerland, The Netherlands, the United States and Austria. With the FIVB based in Lausanne, Gstaad also hosted the 2007 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and this week’s tournament will again be held in a purpose-built stadium in the heart of the picturesque Village Gstaad at the base of the majestic Swiss Alps at the highest elevation where a FIVB World Tour event is held.

Considered to be one of the top two venues on the FIVB World Tour calendar, the FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam, the fifth of 10 FIVB Grand Slam events in 2014, will start Tuesday for women and Wednesday through Sunday for men. The tournament format has a one-day qualification tournament on Tuesday for women (Wednesday for men) to determine the final eight spots in each gender’s 32-team main draw tournaments followed by round-robin pool play and a single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams. The women’s and men’s medal matches are scheduled for Sunday.

The total entry list for the 2014 FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam includes 86 men’s teams from 30 countries and 81 women’s teams from 31 countries selected by their respective national federations.

The top three podium teams in each gender at 2014 FIVB Grand Slam events receive 800, 720 and 640 points respectively.

After seven men’s and eight women’s events the top three  FIVB World Tour point leaders and the top three  FIVB World Tour money leaders come from five countries-Brazil, China, Italy, Latvia and the United States. All of the point and money-leading teams are among the entries for this week’s FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam.

Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins has 2,890 points to lead the men’s 2014 FIVB World Tour point standings followed by Italy’s Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai with 2,580, USA’s Dalhausser/Rosenthal with 2,400, Brazil’s Emanuel Rego/Pedro Salgado with 2,260 and USA’s John Hyden/Tri Bourne fifth with 2,240 points. In the 2014 FIVB World Tour men’s season earnings, the new leading team is USA’s Dalhausser/Rosenthal with $115,000 followed by Italy’s Lupo/Nicolai with $114,000 followed by Latvia’s Samoilovs/J. Smedins with $103,500, USA’s Hyden/Bourne with $94,800 and Russia’s Konstantin Semenov/Viacheslav Krasilnikov with $84,200.

For the women, Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta/Maria Antonelli are still at the top with 3,120 points followed by USA’s April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings with 3,060; China’s Fan Wang/Yuan Yue with 3,020, Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas with 2,700 and China’s Chen Xue/Xinyi Xia in fifth with 2,460. In the 2014 FIVB World Tour women’s season earnings, continuing to lead is USA’s A. Ross/Walsh Jennings with $159,000 followed by China’s Fan Wang/Yuan Yue with $103,175, Brazil’s Juliana/Antonelli with $101,375, Spain’s Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez with $95,000 and Brazil’s defending FIVB World Tour season point champions Talita Antunes/Taiana Lima with $90,750.

Starting with this week’s FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam in Switzerland (July 8-13), the 2014 FIVB World Tour starts a four week run of Grand Slam events in four countries with a FIVB-record total purse of $3.6 million. Following the FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam will be  the FIVB Transavia Grand Slam played in three different cities in the Netherlands (July 15-20) but based in The Hague, the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam in the United States (July 22-27) and the FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam in Austria (July 29-Aug. 3).

While the FIVB Grand Slams in Gstaad and Klagenfurt have this year’s regular Grand Slam purses of $800,000 each the Grand Slams in the Netherlands and the USA each has a FIVB Grand Slam-record purse of $1 million. In both The Hague and Long Beach, the gold medal winners in each gender will share a $70 purse with $52,000 for silver, $40,000 for bronze and $30,000 for fourth place.

As the host nation, Switzerland has three teams automatically pre-seeded into the main draw in both genders. For the men, the Swiss teams in the main draw are Sebastian Chevallier/Alexei Strasser, Philip Gabathuler/Mirco Gerson and Mats Kovatsch/Jonas Kissling. For the women, the Swiss main draw teams are Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre, Tanja Goricanec/Tanja Huberli and Nadine Zumkehr/Joana Heidrich.

Additionally, Switzerland will have at least one men’s team and two women’s teams in their respective qualification tournaments. Currently listed as the men’s qualification team from Switzerland is Fabio Berta/Gabriel Kissling while the two women’s qualification teams are Nina Betschart/Nicole Eiholzer and Kim Huber/Saskia Seghers. The Swiss men’s reserve teams are Bernhard Beyeler/Manuel Sutter, Marco Krattiger/Nico Beeler and Andres Sutter/Roman Sutter. The women’s reserve team from Switzerland is Sarah Leeman/Anja Licka.

Men’s championship team of the 2013 FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam was Brazil’s unique new team of rookie Alvaro Filho and legendary veteran Ricardo Santos. Winning last year’s women’s gold medal in Gstaad was China’s two-time Olympians Chen Xue/Xi Zhang. Playing a limited FIVB international schedule in 2013, Xue/Zhang also won the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Stare Jablonki, Poland.

The 2007 event in Gstaad was the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships where the gold medals were won by a pair of teams from the United States. Capturing men’s gold in Gstaad was USA’s Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers, who would go on to win gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and winning women’s gold was USA’s incomparable duo of Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh Jennings, who won women’s Olympic gold in 2004 (Athens), 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London).

Through the 2013 event, Switzerland has hosted a total of 27 FIVB World Tour events (13 straight for men, 14 consecutive for women) with all of them being held in Gstaad with Brazil leading the medal count in both genders.  In the men’s totals, Brazil has 17, followed by USA with seven, Germany with six, Switzerland three, and with one men’s medal each are Argentina, Australia, Italy, Netherlands, Russia and Spain.

After 14 FIVB World Tour women’s events held in Switzerland through 2013, Brazil leads the medal parade with 18 total medals followed by the USA with 11, China with eight, with one each women’s medals in Gstaad are Australia, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Switzerland.

After sitting out last year’s FIVB World Tour, Brazil’s iconic Juliana Felisberta Silva has returned to team with the very talented veteran Maria Antonelli. Juliana played domestically in 2013 following the retirement of her legendary teammate Larissa Franca with whom she won an unprecedented seven FIVB World Tour season point championships between 2005 and 2012, the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Juliana/Antonelli duo has advanced to the main draw after playing in five qualification tournaments this year and the team is listed for the qualifier in Gstaad as well.

In addition to leading the women’s 2014 FIVB World Tour point standings and being third in earnings, overall the Juliana/Antonelli duo has a 37-10 record on this year’s FIVB World Tour, with three silver medals (Fuzhou, Puerto Vallarta, Berlin). Antonelli played last season with Agatha Bednarczuk and finished fifth in the 2013 FIVB Season Rankings.

The gold medal teams in the FIVB Gstaad Grand slam will each split $57,000, the silver $43,000, the bronze $32,000 and fourth place $24,000. The women’s semifinals and medal matches will be held on Saturday while on Sunday will be the men’s semifinals and medal matches.

The FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam will be the 305th FIVB men’s tournament since its first event in 1987 and the 269th FIVB women’s tournament since FIVB began women’s competitions in 1992.

Gstaad is a picturesque village in the German-speaking section of the Canton of Bern in southwestern Switzerland in the shadow of the majestic Swiss Alps. It is part of the municipality of Saanen and is known as a major ski resort and a popular destination amongst the high society and the international jet set. Gstaad has a permanent population of about 3,200 and is located 1,050 meters (3,445 feet) above sea level, making it the highest altitude venue for a FIVB World Tour event.

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