Evergreen Nummerdor back for more at Stavanger Grand Slam
The pair faced two matches in qualifying and started with a 2-0 (21-17, 21-14) win over Austria’s Tobias Winter and Lorenz Petutschnig and then followed up with a 2-0 (22-20, 21-18) victory against Chilean cousins Esteban and Marco Grimalt.
Nummerdor’s last tournament was the 2013 Moscow Grand Slam, his final competition with long-term partner Richard Schuil and where the pair failed to advance from pool play.
“It was my last tournament with Richard and it was horrible because our level was going down and down,” Nummerdor said.
“We weren’t training enough to compete properly and Richard was done. First I doubted if I wanted to keep on going, but then this came up, a young guy, 19-years-old and the Federation was eager to see me help him and so I agreed to do it.
Nummerdor and Schuil teamed up on the sand in 2006 after previously playing volleyball and over their seven years together won nine World Tour titles, three CEV European Championships and competed in the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games.
Now he has to take on a slightly different role with one of the up and coming players of Dutch beach volleyball, starting in Stavanger.
“This is great for us, we can play three strong teams in the next few days,” Nummerdor added. “He brings a lot of energy, he is young, he works hard, listens and wants to improve every day.
“He played great today, so there isn’t much coaching involved, but of course we have a long way to go.”
Back to the same routine
Nummerdor and van de Velde were one of eight teams to progress to the Stavanger Grand Slam main draw.
Joining them there were the USA’s John Hyden and Ty Bourne, who only three days ago were celebrating their first World Tour gold medals at the Berlin Grand Slam, having gone all the way to the top of the podium from the qualification rounds.
They quickly had to put the memories from the German capital to the back of their minds, but after receiving a bye in the first round defeated Russia’s Serguei Prokopiev and Grigoriy Goncharov 2-0 (21-16, 21-17) to progress to the main draw.
“It was pretty tough,” Hyden said. “It’s different sand than we have played at lately, it is a lot deeper, but you’ve just got to get used to it.
“We came not quite as ready to go as I like, but we came through at the end.”
At 41 years of age Hyden is among the eldest World Tour gold medal winners, but having battled through qualification once again he and Bourne aren’t planning on changing their usual routine.
“We prepare the same way as we always prepare for a tournament,” Hyden added. “You’ve got to hit the massage therapist, do the stretching and rolling out, just take care of yourself as best as you can.
“Like last week, our goal is to win. We want to come out and win every game we can, and this is the first step in doing that. It is nerve-racking to play qualification. If you are in the main draw you got three matches to try and win, but out here it is do or die. But when you win, it is such a relief.”
The double-gender US$800,000 FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam runs from Wednesday, June 25 until Sunday June 29. It is the eighth event and the fourth Grand Slam on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar that features nine Grand Slams and 11 Open tournaments.
The 2014 World Tour began at the Fuzhou Open in China in April and concludes at the Durban Open in South Africa in December. Next up on the World Tour calendar is the Gstaad Grand Slam which runs from July 9-13.