FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Vitoria Open 2016 | 15 - 20 mars 2016


Press release

Ricardo: the last of a generation of great Brazilians

Bumping setting Mikasa is legendary Brazilian Ricardo Santos during his match with Álvaro Filho against Americans Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson Thursday morning in the Vitória Open on Camburi beach.

Vitória, Brazil, March 17, 2016 - With another Brazilian beach volleyball legend retiring to the sidelines, the last one of a generation of great players from the South American country is still standing as three-time Olympic medallist Ricardo Santos remains among the world’s elite players.

Emanuel Rego, Ricardo’s long-time partner, called it quits last weekend at the Rio Grand Slam on Copacabana. Emanuel’s last match was a three-set loss to the Grimalt cousins (Esteban and Marco) on Friday. Despite the disappointment of losing, Emanuel’s emotional retirement on Sunday was a fitting tribute to a man that holds a majority of the beach volleyball records in the world.

Quick links

•    Vitória Open website
•    Qualification - Men
•    Qualification - Women
•    Main draw - Men
•    Main draw - Women


Ricardo is now the last of a legacy list of Brazilians that established the South American country as the No. 1 beach volleyball power in the world with gold (Athens 2004 with Emanuel), silver (Sydney 2000 with ZeMarco deMelo) and bronze (Beijing 2008 with Emanuel) Olympic medals along with a FIVB world championship (Rio 2003 with Emanuel) to his credit.

“I still have a few years left playing on the FIVB World Tour,” said the 41-year old Ricardo, who is playing in this $150,000 Vitória Open with Álvaro Filho as the 18th-seeded team in the Main Draw. “Last week was a very emotional week for all us Brazilians as Emanuel is such an inspirational player, a true sportsman and a terrific person. He will be missed, but now is time to move on with the end of my career.”

Although Ricardo has set no timetable on retirement, he said he still has a lot of “enthusiasm to continue playing. Health will always be an issue for us older players, so the key for me is to stay fit. The best way is to continue playing.”


Brazil's Alvaro Filho returns the Mikasa

But the question now is who will Ricardo be playing with after the Vitória Open? The 25-year old Álvaro will return playing with his regular partner Vitor Felipe for the next FIVB World Tour stop in Qatar (April 5-8) while Ricardo is a free agent looking to continue his career both domestically and internationally.

“I don’t know what he will do,” said Álvaro after a pool play match here Thursday morning on Camburi beach. “I will play with Vitor. I just don’t know. Ask Ricardo!”

For the record, Ricardo and Álvaro are playing in their 20th FIVB World Tour event together with a 69-37 match record after posting Vitória Open pool play wins over the 15th-seeded Grimalts Wednesday 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) in 42 minutes and second-seeded Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson of the United States 2-0 (21-18, 22-20) in 40 minutes. Ricardo and Álvaro end pool play against 31st-seeded qualifiers Julian Amado Azaad/Pablo Bianchi of Argentina.

With a win over the Argentineans, Ricardo and Álvaro will earn a bye to the second-round of elimination Friday. While Álvaro is playing his first FIVB World Tour event on Camburi beach, Ricardo has placed first (1999 with ZeMarco), second (2001 with Jose Loiola), fourth (2006 with Emanuel), fifth (2000 with ZeMarco) and seventh (1998 with ZeMarco) in past Vitória Opens.

Ricardo and Álvaro have posted five podium placements and six final four finishes together.  Ricardo’s 55th and last gold medal on the FIVB World Tour was at the 2013 Gstaad Grand Slam in Switzerland. It came a week after finishing second at the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Poland where Ricardo and Álvaro lost to Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands. In the semifinals in Gstaad, Ricardo and Álvaro avenged the setback.

And who knows, Ricardo and Álvaro could meet the Dutch in the Vitória Open as Brouwer and Meeuwsen are seeded fourth in Pool D with an opening win Wednesday over a Brazilian pair and Thursday matches against teams from Germany and Italy. The Dutch have a 3-2 record against Ricardo and Álvaro with the five matches being played in 2013.

After playing in one international event in 1995 and 1997, Ricardo became a full-time player on the FIVB World Tour in 1998 with ZeMarco. Ricardo’s first gold medal was 18 years ago on Copacabana in February 1998 with ZeMarco. With Emanuel holding the record for match wins (1,227) and matches played (1,549), Ricardo is No. 2 with 988 victories in 1,295 matches. The Vitória Open is Ricardo’s 220th FIVB World Tour event as he is seeking his 131st final four finish.


Following the Vitória Open, the FIVB World Tour will take a two-week break before resuming action April 4-8 men’s-only event in Doha, Qatar. Before returning to Brazil for the Fortaleza Open at the end of April, two double-gender events will be staged in China at Xiamen (April 12-17) and Fuzhou (April 19-24).

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