Baden, Austria. Beach Volleyball fans can nurture very high expectations for the 1-Star World Tour event coming up later this month in Baden, Austria. The men’s competition will feature, inter alia, home stars Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst, with the silver medal winners from the 2017 World Championship hoping to retain the title that they seized in 2018 and 2019. Their main rivals for gold, at least on paper, are the Swiss Adrian Heidrich/Mirco Gerson, the first-seeded team in the Main Draw, but reigning Austrian national champions Robin Seidl and Philipp Waller have set their sights on the gold medals as well.
“After the silver medal we secured in Ljubljana at the first international competition since the lockdown, we would of course like to make the podium at home as well,” says Doppler. “The competition will be even tougher in Baden and we will be doing our best.”
“The depth of international competition is truly amazing and every game is on the knife edge. Baden was a good place for us in recent years and we are returning with golden memories,” adds partner Horst.
Robin Seidl and Philipp Waller (pictured above) were the winners of the HYPO NOE Beach Volleyball Champions Cup back in July, the first competition organised in Austria since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis.
“In general there are really cool teams involved, opponents against whom it is awesome to play. If you look even at the qualification round, the experienced Turks Murat Giginoglu and Volkan Gögtepe always perform well and the same applies to the young Norwegians, Mathias Berntsen and Markus Mol. They could go far,” says Seidl. “The main competition is with Heidrich/Gerson and of course Clemens and Alex are very tough opponents too. We should not forget Bryl and Miszczuk. Despite such a competitive field, we want to win. It will be very exciting. We are looking forward to the tournament in Baden.”
“I am definitely looking forward to all the teams, especially the international ones. There will be an opportunity to show who has made the best use of the long break imposed by the coronavirus crisis,” Waller adds.
Many of the top European women’s teams are due to compete in Baden with high-profile entries from Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Czech Republic. The title defence looks like a mission impossible for Lena Plesiutschnig, especially since her partner Katharina Schützenhöfer is still recovering from shoulder surgery. Lena will therefore compete with Dorina Klinger, whose sister Ronja is out due to injury as well.
“There has probably never been a 1-Star tournament as competitive as this one,” Lena acknowledges. “It could be a 4 or 5-Star tournament if you look at the first seven teams of the entry lists. However, it is very, very cool that so many strong teams are coming to Baden. We are extremely happy that another international competition can take place. It will be a big challenge for Dorina and me because we only have a few weeks to prepare together. In Wolfurt [a stop of the Austrian Beach Volleyball Tour due to take place on August 8 and 9] we will be able to play together for the first time. It definitely will be exciting, because we are two blockers but we are looking forward to it, accept the challenge and will see how it works.”
“For us, the BADEN OPEN is a highlight and despite the unusual conditions it will certainly be one great event – like every year,” adds Teresa Strauss, who won bronze last year with twin sister Nadine. “We are very grateful that there is even an international tournament in which we can participate and can measure ourselves against top teams. Atypical for a 1-Star tournament, the line-up is very strong this year as there are several teams representing the top of the international elite.”
Photo Credit: Florian Schrötter
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