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FIVB World Champions Seek Transavia Grand Slam Success

Reigning FIVB Beach Volleyball world champions Alexander Brouwer (left) and Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands celebrate a Thursday win at The Hague Beach Stadium

The Hague, The Netherlands, July 17, 2014 - It has been a “struggle” this season for reigning FIVB Beach Volleyball world champions Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen, but the young Dutch players have been working hard to secure success this week at the US$1-million The Hague Transavia Grand Slam presented by Bas Van de Goor Foundation.

“Due to my knee injury, it has really be a struggle for Alexander and I to find any rhythm with our game this year,” said the 26-year old Meeuwsen after his team’s second pool play win this week on The Hague Beach Stadium court over 23rd-seeded Sebastian Dollinger and Lars Fluggen of Germany (2-0, 21-14, 21-15 in 36 minutes).

“We are starting to play better, but we still need to improve our level of play,” Meeuwsen offered as his parents (Theo and Karin) waited to congratulate their son after win over the Germans.  “We want to play well this week since we are playing in front of family, friends and fans.  This is a very important tournament for us and we hope to better our previous starts.  We have a tough match against a good German team later today, so we need to maintain our focus.”

Seeded 10th in The Hague Transavia Grand Slam, Brouwer and Meeuwsen conclude pool play this evening against seventh-seeded Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik of Germany.  The match will be the seventh meeting between the two teams on both the FIVB World and European tours with each team winning three times.

One of the previous matches had the Dutch play Erdmann and Matysik in the semi-finals at the 2013 FIVB World Championships in Poland where Brouwer and Meeuwsen posted a 2-0 (21-13, 21-17) win in 41 minutes.  To the surprise of everyone in the Beach Volleyball world, the Dutch then upset Alvaro Filho and Ricardo Santos of Brazil 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) in 44 minutes to capture the gold medal and the world championship title.”

“Everything fell into place for us in Stare Jablonki,” added Meeuwsen.  “We played very well and took advantage of the opportunity to play for a medal against the very best teams in the world.  Obviously, it was a very big surprise to everyone.  The key was that we played a very high level and played with a focus and did not allow the pressure of playing for a world title get to us.”

With an “eye” on defending their world championship next year when The Netherlands hosts the prestigious event at four sites in the European country, Brouwer said it is “one match at a time for our time.  Yes we have struggled, especially with Robert’s knee problems.  We have been really looking forward to this tournament as we live two minutes from here and we bike here to train on Scheveningen beach.”

The Dutch champions have not performed well in their previous two appearances in FIVB World Tour stops in The Hague.  After finishing 17th in the 2011 The Hague event, Brouwer and Meeuwsen placed ninth last season despite winning their three pool play matches.  One of the Dutch’s pool play wins was a two-set victory over Alvaro Fiho and Ricardo, who were ousted this season in Tuesday’s Transavia Grand Slam qualifier.

With the Transavia Grand Slam being the ninth men’s event on the 2014 FIVB World Tour, 24 of the men’s pool play matches were scheduled Thursday on the four sand courts on Scheveningen beach.  Two matches each were also set to be played on specialty-made set ups in the Marktplein at Apeldoorn and the Gustav Mahlerplein in Amsterdam.

As a “prelude” to the 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, the final three days of the Transavia Grand Slam will be staged only at the Scheveningen courts where the medal matches will be played Sunday.  The final two teams in both gender’s competition with be competing for the gold medals and a share of the $70,000 first-place prize for each winning team.

Following this week’s event, the FIVB World Tour returns to the United States for the second-straight year as Long Beach in southern California hosts another $1-million event.  The international circuit returns to Europe in August for stops in Austria (Klagenfurt, July 29-August 3) and Poland (Stare Jablonki, August 19-24).


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