2018-09-24 10:00:00 CET
The Most Outstanding Player award is just another precocious achievement for the Brazilian star
People are not expected to be the best in their businesses at the age of 20, but if you watched anything of the Beach Volleyball Major Series over the last two seasons, one thing you probably noticed is that Duda Lisboa defies expectations the same way she smashes volleyballs into the sand.
The talented young defender has been queuing records in her burgeoning career and the closing of the 2017-2018 World Tour season brought the latest of them, as the Brazilian became the youngest athlete to ever be awarded as the Most Outstanding Player.
And if you might have seen that coming, well, she didn’t.
“I had goosebumps when I heard the news, I didn’t expect it at all,” she told us. “We were training and all of a sudden Renan, who’s our physical trainer and Ágatha’s husband, was yelling with his phone on his hand, saying that we had won the awards. Everybody was super happy in our team and we celebrated when the training was over.”
Meu Deus, tanta emoção estou vivendo agora. Depois de uma notícia incrível que fui eleita melhor Jogadora , melhor jogadora ofensiva e melhor ataque. ❤️ Obrigada @agatha_rippel e toda minha comissão, nada disso seria possível sem vocês ao meu lado, trabalhando duro e juntos. 😍 E minha parceira conquistou atleta do ano e a atleta inspiradora ❤️ parabéns 😍fruto de mt trabalho.
2,509 Likes, 174 Comments - Duda Lisboa (@santoslisboaduda) on Instagram: "Meu Deus, tanta emoção estou vivendo agora. Depois de uma notícia incrível que fui eleita melhor..."
The award erases any doubts that Duda’s status among beach volleyball elite at such a young age. With partner Ágatha Bednarcuzk, she won the World Tour Finals in Hamburg and topped the world rankings by the end of the season.
Duda was also selected as the Best Hitter and the Best Offensive Player of the season, while Ágatha took home the Most Inspirational Player and Sportswoman of the Year awards.
“Being the best player in the World Tour was never something I thought about or planned, certainly not at this age,” Duda added. “There are so many great players out there and I’m so honored I was voted. Ágatha and I always think about winning tournaments as a team not about individual awards, but we see these prizes as amazing rewards for the great season we had.”
The awards are just another evidence of Duda’s phenomenal rise in the beach volleyball scene. The Brazilian prodigy had the first signs of her brilliance during her youth career, which saw her win a total of five age-group World Championships as well as gold in the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics.
As a professional, she has become the youngest player to win a Beach Major Series event and the World Tour Finals. And her recipe to success is as simple as a 20-year-old can explain.
“I’m a firm believer that when you really want something and you dream about it and you work for it, it ultimately happens,” the defender said. “I’ve been working very hard to achieve my goals, but at the same time, when they materialize, I’m always caught by surprise. I still have a lot of dreams to chase and I’m so grateful that I have a lot of years ahead of me and a lot of new surprises to experience.”
With a very successful second season under their belts, the Brazilians now prepare for what will arguably be the most challenging year for their team. In 2019, Ágatha and Duda will now only try to retain their World Tour Finals title, but they will also compete in the World Championships and for valuable points in the Olympic qualification process for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
“It was an amazing season and it showed how good we can be,” the São-Cristovão native analyzed. “The results were great, but we know a new battle will start with the Olympic qualification and all other tournaments in 2019. We need to take the good lessons from last season, but more importantly to think about now and on how hard we need to work and how well we need to prepare to keep achieving our goals.”