USA’s Kessy not about to say goodbye yet
On a rainy centre court at Durban’s New Beach the American pair won their first game easily, playing fast and effective against inexperienced Milagros Hernandez and Yetzi Garcia from Venezuela: 21-13 21-15.
“This was our first match as a team, we have had about a week of practice,” Kessy said afterwards. “So we are happy with the win of course and I think we played really well together. In the beginning of the game we hit about five out, but we were digging balls, so we knew we could play well. We just needed to put some third contacts away and we started to do that and started to pull away.”
After winning silver at the 2012 London Olympic Games Kessy missed out on the World Championships this year due to a hip injury. In August she and her long-time partner April Ross decided to split. Ross continued with Kerri Walsh and Kessy skipped a few events, but hooked up with Brooke Sweat for the Phuket Open in October, finishing 17th.
Kessy: “It’s been an on and off year for me. It has been my most up and down year in a long time. Just my finishes, some personal stuff, it just has been crazy. But I am here now, my husband is playing. We just spent a week in France before this, training with the French team and that was not a bad place to be. So I am happy.”
Pavlik (30) has played with five different partners this year, amongst others April Ross, with whom she finished 4th at the World Championships in Stare Jablonki. “I definitely bounced around a bit”, Pavlik said. “But you know, I get so much great experience from all those players. It’s only helping my game, so it’s perfect.”
Being a new pair they will have to see how far they will come in Durban. Kessy: “We just want to make it to Saturday night at this point and play in those finals if we can. Whitney has had a crazy year with lots of different partners and I have had a crazy year with everything happening in my life. So we are here having fun playing volleyball in the rain, like kids. I am 36 years old and I get to play volleyball in the rain and being a goofball. So that’s our goal, just to have fun and hopefully win.”
What happens after the Durban Open is uncertain. Kessy: “At this point I am not sure. I am playing and we will see who I am playing with and Whitney and I are trying each other out right now. April and I had such an amazing chemistry, I have to find that again. For me that’s what it is all about.”
But retiring is not an option yet for the American veteran, who plans on continuing for a while. “I am still making money, I am still having fun and I think that’s the point. My body feels good, so why not.”