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'It was a result, which I for one was not expecting to see' - Martin Laciga

 
Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego defied the odds to take home gold for Brazil at the World Cup Finals in Campinas

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 4, 2013 - As the curtains are drawn on the World Cup Final in Campinas (Brazil) former Swiss beach volleyball player, Martin Laciga takes a look back at some of the action and tells FIVB.org what he expects from the next Grand Slam to be held at The Hague from June 11 to 16.

 “It has been a bumpy start to the year for Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego with Alison’s finger injury keeping them away from the Grand Slam competitions in Shanghai and Corrientes. And after a month away from the sand, it was clear that they had difficulty finding their rhythm during pool play at the World Cup Final in Campinas. But they held it together enough to get through to the gold match and then win it. It was a result, which I for one was not expecting to see.

“The World Cup Final also provided excellent experience for Switzerland’s Sebastian Chevallier and Philip Gabathuler, who were drawn into a tough pool. They played high quality beach volleyball and posed a real challenge to other competitors, even managing to beat Alison and Emanuel on day three of the competition. It was bad luck that they were not able to qualify for the semifinals, but they came close to it and it was good to see that they are developing their individual strengths especially as this was the first time they played together. 

“I am now looking forward to see what The Hague Grand Slam will bring and although my favourites going into the tournament are Americans Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson it looks like there are a few teams who could give them a good run for their money.  

 “The Latvian teams are getting stronger every week and gaining more experience with each and every competition.

“And as I have seen many times in the past, the Dutch teams always play a good game when on home soil and surrounded by the local crowd. Dutch volleyball legends Richard Schuil and Reinder Nummerdor have not played many events this year, so I am looking forward to see what they can achieve at The Hague Grand Slam. Their younger teammates, Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen have shown much potential and seemed poised to make their mark on the tournament as well.

“The surprise pair of the season, Austrians Alexander Huber and Robin Seidl who won bronze at the Fuzhou Open could go very far in the tournament especially with their excellent control of the ball. Brazil’s Pedro Salgado and Bruno Schmidt who have played together this winter and have already notched a number of wins on the Brazilian circuit this year, have the playing experience necessary to unsettle the top seeds in the tournament.”

“If there is anything to be learnt from the tournaments over the past few months is that the quality of volleyball on offer is on the rise, which is making it difficult to say with any certainty who will be standing on the podium at the various events this year.

“All I can say is we are not done yet with the surprises on this year’s beach volleyball World Tour!”

Martin Laciga is a recently retired beach volleyball player from Switzerland. Partnering with his older sibling Paul, the Laciga brother won the silver medal in the men's beach team competition at the 1999 Beach Volleyball World Championships in Marseille, France. He has represented Switzerland at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Athens where he placed fifth and Beijing where he finished ninth. He has also competed in seven FIVB World Championships (1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2011) and has won six international gold medals.

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