2018-01-25 16:25:00 CET

What does the future hold for Kira?

German superstar on the comeback trail

Kira has had a history of shoulder problems - but is on her way back - hopefully - to play in 2018Kira has had a history of shoulder problems - but is on her way back - hopefully - to play in 2018

Good news! Olympic and World Champion Kira Walkenhorst is on the way back to fitness after shoulder surgery.

The German star, who lifted the World Tour Finals and World Champs titles with Laura Ludwig, is already giving some thought of whom she might partner with this year with Laura missing the season to have a baby.

“I’ve got some names in my head but I’ve not spoken to anyone yet so I can’t reveal who!” Kira told us at the press conference which unveiled Hamburg as the host city for the 2019 World Championships.

“But I don’t really know what the plan for this season is yet – it depends on how the shoulder recovers. I have to go back to the doctor in three weeks to check how it is before I can think about practicing and playing again.”

The bad news for beach fans is that Walkenhorst won’t feature in next month’ Fort Lauderdale Major. Last season, it was teammate Ludwig that missed the USA’s only five-star competition with a shoulder injury.

And, just like one of her beach volleyball heroes Kerri Walsh Jennings, Kira won’t be rushing back to get back on the sand.

“If I’m fit I’ll play later in the season, but if it’s not right I’m not risking anything,” said the 27-year-old blocker. “If I decide to miss a year then that’s what I’ll do. I can always train hard this year and approach 2019 fresh.”

On the news that Hamburg will host the 2019 World Champs, where Kira and Laura will aim to retain the title won in Vienna, Walkenhorst added: “I can’t imagine how the World Tour Finals and the World Championships together would be. They were both really amazing tournaments last year.

“Can you imagine how big the atmosphere, with all of those fans, would be? In Hamburg and Vienna the fans showed that the interest in beach volleyball is getting bigger and bigger.”

While Ludwig has already confirmed she will miss the season – that doesn’t mean she’s just sitting on the sofa!

The 31-year-old posted on Instagram that she is still training, leaving Germany behind for the sunshine and warmer climate of Tenerife – like many of the other teams gearing up for Fort Lauderdale Major. Good job, Laura!

Sun is shining...finally😍😍😍 Tenerife, you are so good to us. 10days practicing in the sun and I'm feeling gooood...🎶🎶🎶

3,576 Likes, 33 Comments - Laura Ludwig (@lauraludwig86) on Instagram: "Sun is shining...finally😍😍😍 Tenerife, you are so good to us. 10days practicing in the sun and I'm..."

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