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Schwaiger sisters back in action after months out with injury

Austria's Stefanie and Doris Schwaiger are back on the World Tour
Prague, Czech Republic, May 24, 2014 – After several months of absence Austria’s Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger made their comeback on the FIVB World Tour this week in Prague.

Doris, with 29 years the oldest Schwaiger-sister, sustained a groin injury at the Sao Paulo Grand Slam in October last year. It took her seven months to recover.

“We had to skip China this year”, said Doris, who won silver with her 27-year old sister last year at the Shanghai Grand Slam. “China is always in our plans, but this year it was impossible to go.”

After a frustrating recovery period there was light at the end of the tunnel and the women’s Prague Open became their first goal. “We were very much looking forward to this tournament and are excited to play our first matches”, the sisters said on Friday.

Lucky draw

The Austrian team is seeded 6th at the women’s event in Prague and had a fortunate draw in pool play with German qualifiers Bieneck/Grossner (11th), Grawender/Lundqvist from Sweden (22th) and France’s Adelin/Longuet (27th).

Although they topped the pool with three wins and only lost one set, against Germany in their last pool match on Friday, it did not turn out to be that easy those first matches, the Schwaigers admitted.

“We had some misunderstandings between us, and we were very nervous before the German match”, Doris said. Stefanie: “We could not find our rhythm, it is the first tournament for us after a long time, but in the second set we found our way.”

“But we are really glad to play here and we are we are getting better every match”, Doris added. “As we said earlier the tournament only starts now. Pool play was not perfect, but it was ok.”

About their medal chances in Prague she said: “If we play a good game, we don’t make too many mistakes in a row and we play a steady level, we can do it. Then I think we have a good chance to reach the quarterfinals. If not, we already have a top ten result, but of course we want to go up further. At the moment the most important thing is the rhythm.”

European Championships

However the Prague tournament will turn out for the Schwaigers, there is a more important event for them coming up soon: the European Championships in Cagliari in the first week of June.

The Austrian sisters won the event last year in front of their home crowd in Klagenfurt by defeating Spain’s Elsa Baquerizo and Liliana Fernandez in the final.

“We are very excited to be able to defend our title”, said Doris. “We are wondering how the tournament will be, because it was assigned to Cagliari so late. I hope it will be a good location with a nice beach and nice people.”

According to the sisters there is no pressure. “Nobody can steal the title from us”, explained Doris. “We are the 2013 European champion and will always be. We could win the 2014 as well, but we feel like we don’t have to because we already have one.”

In preparation for this big event the Austrians are not travelling to the next World Tour event in Anapa, Russia, but prefer to stay home. Stefanie: “We have the CEV Masters in Baden next week, it’s our home tournament. It’s really close to our home town and our sponsors will be there.”

Despite their short preparation time the sisters feel that they are ready to defend their title. Doris: “And what if we weren’t, we can’t change it anyway. What can we do, we are working hard to get in shape.”

New coach

The injury has not been the only thing the Austrians had to adjust to though. They have also made some changes in their entourage this year. Doris and Stefanie contracted Swiss Martin Laciga, who played on the World Tour for years with his brother Paul, as their new coach.

“He changed some things in our play”, Doris explained, ”but we are not going to tell you what they are.”


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