Nummerdor: next year’s World Championships are going to surpass everything
“For the first time there will be four host cities. That’s never been done before. The venues look great this year, and this is only a grand slam, so I expect it to be even more spectacular next year."
The Transavia Grand Slam, running from July 15-20 is a prelude to next year’s World Championships. This year there are three venues, The Hague, Amsterdam and Apeldoorn, and next year Rotterdam will join in.
“Especially the locations on the Dam in Amsterdam, right in the middle of the city, and the Hofvijver in The Hague (with a floating centre court on a pond in the historic centre) will be spectacular”, Nummerdor continued.
“Promoter TIG Sports is also doing a great job on the VIP villages and the side-events. There is a huge amateur competition each year on the same beach as the grand slam in Scheveningen. We will have the best teams of the world competing next to an amateur competition.”
The 37-year old Nummerdor competed in the previous four World Championships with his former partner Richard Schuil: Stare Jablonki in 2013, Rome in 2011, Stavanger in 2009 and Gstaad in 2007. “All great events too, but the Dutch edition is definitely going to surpass all of them”, he promised.
Special bond with Apeldoorn
This year triple European champion Nummerdor was sent to Apeldoorn for the pool phase of the Transavia Grand Slam, a town he has a special bond with. He played for local volleyball club Dynamo in the late nineties before he became a star in the Italian competition.
“I lived in Apeldoorn for two years when I was 20, 21, while I was playing for Dynamo. I also grew up in this region, in Elburg, half an hour away from here. Apeldoorn is not a huge town, but there’s a relaxed atmosphere. A true volleyball town with volleyball-minded people. And next year when there will be 2000 spectators on the stands, there will be a great atmosphere.”
On Wednesday he and his new partner Steven van de Velde – Richard Schuil retired last year – faced one of the top teams from the USA in their first match: the Stavanger and Gstaad champions Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal.
The Dutch team made the Americans fight hard for victory. With the support of the crowd at Apeldoorn’s Marktplein Nummerdor and young Van de Velde played some great block-defence in the second set to enforce a tiebreak. In the end the more experienced American team prevailed: 21-17, 19-21, 15-7.
“That second set was positive, so we hold on to that”, said Nummerdor. “We played well, passing and setting was good. We started well in the first set too, but our side-out is not consistent enough yet. That’s why we lose at the moment. I think we can make enough points with our serve and bock-defence and we pressured them into making mistakes too, but we are not there yet. We are still searching.”
For Nummerdor and the 19-year old Van de Velde this is only their third World Tour event since Nummerdor had to recover from a tear in his anterior crucial knee ligament that he contracted before the start of the season. They finished 25th in Stavanger and 41st in Gstaad these past two weeks.
“I am not fit yet”, Nummerdor said. “This kind of injury usually takes a minimum of three months recovery. It took me four months, but that must have been my age. I am ready to practice full force, but it takes a lot of time to regain my old explosiveness. I am getting there, but it will still take some more time.”
He does not mind starting all over with a new partner after Schuil, with whom he won nine World Tour gold medals, said goodbye. “It’s a nice challenge. Steven is a very talented player, but he needs to get to a consistent level, but that’s hard when you are only 19. But he can do brilliant things. And he needs to show some attitude, because we think he is a bit shy and nervous in the field. But today he played well and then he gets fired up. That’s great to see.”
Even opponent and fellow blocker Phil Dalhausser noticed Van de Velde’s potential. “He is 50 times better than me at that age. He is a very talented player”, the legendary American said.
If Nummerdor will compete at next year’s World Championships is not at all sure yet. “It’s too early too say. This summer I will play with Steven and then we will evaluate the season. First I need to get back to my old level, otherwise it’s no use. I need to get back to that top level, but I really am confident I can do that.”
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