Walkenhorst and Ludwig aiming to take final step
Kira Walkenhorst and Laura Ludwig are Germany’s leading side at the Fuzhou Open in China and out to improve on the two silver medals and one bronze that they won in Grand Slams in 2013. They also won the bronze medals from the CEV European Championships, all of which helped propel them to fourth in the World Tour rankings by the end of their debut season as a partnership.
“Our first season was really quite good, better than either of us would have expected at the beginning,” Walkenhorst said. “Nevertheless, there are still quite a lot of things that need to be improved. We have worked hard in the winter and we will also make more improvements in the next few years.”
Top of the list for the team is to finish atop a World Tour podium, whether in a Grand Slam or Open.
The pair came close in 2013 at the Moscow and Sao Paolo Grand Slams, but had to settle for silver. For Ludwig in particular they were results that stung as they were the eighth and ninth time that she has won silver on the World Tour without yet winning gold; seven times with former partner Sara Goller and then with Walkenhorst.
“Of course, it is an objective of ours and there will be time for us to reach the top of a podium in the next three years,” Walkenhorst added. “Whether it will be this year, we will have to see as the other teams have all been working hard over the winter and as such we will only know where we stand once the season starts.”
Like every team Walkenhorst and Ludwig have been hard at work in pre-season to be ready for the start of the World Tour.
However, unlike the other two teams that enjoyed success on the World Tour in 2014 – Ilka Semmler and Katrin Holtwick and Karla Borger and Britta Buthe – they have decided to compete in Fuzhou to be ready for the first Grand Slam of the year a week later in Shanghai.
“It made sense, since the first Grand Slam of the year takes place in China straight after,” Walkenhorst said. “It also fits very well in our tournament schedule.
“We started our preparation in Egypt in November last year. This year we spent four weeks in Cape Town and Fuerteventura and our last training camp came just before the first tournament of our season, in Turkey.”