Emanuel is learning to play beach volleyball all over again
While Emanuel and Evandro Goncalves booked a 2-1 (11-21 22-20 16-14) win on court 4 over Spain’s Francisco Alfredo Marco and Christian Garcia, Alison and Vitor Felipe lost 2-1 (21-19 14-21 15-12) to Canada’s Maverick Hatch and Christian Redmann on court 3.
Alison and Olympic and triple world champion Emanuel have been playing together since 2010, winning eight events, eight silvers and six bronzes, including Olympic silver in London last year and the World Championship gold in Rome in 2011.
This year, since they don’t have a chance of winning the World Tour anymore, the Brazilian national federation decided to split them up for the rest of the season. They are to teach Vitor Felipe and Evandro, who just won their first gold in Berlin two weeks ago, what they know.
Impressive, emotional and intense
Emanuel said he enjoyed every bit of his first match with Evandro, but that it was emotional draining. “It was impressive, because it was very intense, very emotional, because it was the first match we played together. It is hard to control all these emotions during the game.”
“But it is always good, the feeling you have when you play with another partner. Everything is new. It feels like I am playing my first beach volleyball match all over again. It’s a different story. It’s learning how to play beach volleyball again. That is a great feeling.”
The tough Spanish team did not give them an inch in the first round of pool play. After losing the first set, Emanuel and Evandro had to go all the way to take the match to a tiebreak, winning the second set 22-20. It was Marcos and Garcia who reached the first match point at 13-14, but Brazil who claimed the victory in the end.
“When we won this match, it was like a release”, Emanuel said. “I think I am excited to play again tomorrow.
No time to take a peek
The 40-year old legend did not have time to take a peek during his match to see how Alison was doing. “I was very worried about our own game, because the Spaniards played very consistent. They don’t make a lot of mistakes during the game. I was just thinking about our game and never looked over to the other side.”
Alison and Emanuel won the Moscow Grand Slam in 2011 and 2012. Emanuel feels at home in the Russian capital. “The weather is great. I prefer Russia like this, last year it was cold. It’s good for play, especially for power play. The sand is more flat, it’s always fun to watch the games because it’s good to hit and attack.”
Another medal in Moscow is probably a step too far. “I think it’s too early to say anything. We are still learning how to play. That’s the first step. When you are a consistent team, you can think about the top four and the medals.”
His main goal in Moscow is to help Evandro gain experience. “In beach volleyball you cannot pass on experience just by words. The only way is just be together. This is the way to learn beach volleyball. Just be there, and be an example.”
“I will try to help him, give him great sets, give him the opportunity to do great serves. This is the only way I can help and show somebody else the experience.”
He does not mind it means starting all over again. “It’s not difficult, it’s different, because you need to bring back all the concentration and the memories. When I was playing with my old partner I just knew when I would pass the ball there, my partner would be there to set the ball. I need to learn again. It’s more concentration, you lose more mental energy during these matches.”
Dream come true
For Evandro it was a bit difficult to leave the partner with whom he won gold just two weeks ago, but also a dream come true. “I always wanted to play with Emanuel. It was difficult to split, but I am happy my dream finally came true.”
The most important thing the tall blocker picked up during his first match with Emanuel was staying calm. “Just relax and wait for the right moment. Now we need to work more on getting a routine together.”
After the Moscow Grand Slam Emanuel and Evandro will play together in Beijing as well, but at the home tournament in Sao Paulo, the final Grand Slam of the season, Alison will be back at his side.
“Next year, I don’t know”, Emanuel said. “This experience is just for this year and to see how it will benefit the national team.”