2019-01-14 12:20:00 CET

Back on the sand in 2019

As a new season approaches, here are some familiar faces that will be back to the sand

Olympic champion Laura Ludwig will return to the World Tour in 2019 with Maggie KozuchOlympic champion Laura Ludwig will return to the World Tour in 2019 with Maggie Kozuch

The 2019 World Tour season is just around the corner with the four-star event in The Hague set to open the year in the first week of January. While most of the players will return to the sand after a quick break, some of them will be making their way back to the sport after longer periods - and we bet you missed them!

Here are five athletes who will be back in the World Tour in 2019:

Laura Ludwig

The reigning Olympic and world champion was last seen in August 2017, when she won the World Tour Finals in her home sand of Hamburg. After taking an entire season off to give birth to its first son, Theo, Ludwig is ready to return, but she won't do it with longtime partner Kira Walkenhorst as she was forced into early retirement. The 32-year-old defender will now pair with Maggie Kozuch.

2nd practice in the sun done ✅ and I just love it. Hello from Tenerife 🤗 #beachvolleyball #camp #familytrip

3,178 Likes, 15 Comments - Laura Ludwig (@lauraludwig86) on Instagram: "2nd practice in the sun done ✅ and I just love it. Hello from Tenerife 🤗 #beachvolleyball #camp..."

Talita Antunes

The Brazilian blocker’s last international appearance also happened in the Hamburg Finals, back in 2017. As Laura, the 36-year-old player has also sit out of the 2018 season because she was pregnant. Her son, Renato, was born in June, and Talita has already returned to the sport, competing in the Brazilian Tour with Taiana Lima. They are expected to compete internationally soon.

Uma mistura de sentimentos !!voltar a quadra central,disputar uma semi final após um ano parada,olhar para arquibancada e ver o sorriso mais lindo do mundo e ainda a melhor família junto 😁😍 já agradeci muito pelo final de semana,🙏🏻 #feliz #obrigada #agradecersempre #cde #exercitobrasileiro #oasisclube #fabiolamolina #bolsaatleta #meuprincipe #obrigadafamilia

1,012 Likes, 41 Comments - Talita Antunes (@talitavolei) on Instagram: "Uma mistura de sentimentos !!voltar a quadra central,disputar uma semi final após um ano..."

Alex Ranghieri

The Net Patroller endured knee surgery in May and the injury sidelined him for most of the 2018 season. After a long rehab process, the Italian blocker found his way towards the courts again and resumed his partnership with Marco Caminati, which took down the reigning world champions Evandro Gonçalves and Andre Loyola of Brazil earlier this season, with a ninth-place finish at the four-star World Tour event in The Hague, in January.

Slowly coming back ! @xseurope @emporioarmani @aeronautica.militare @oakley #EA7 #recovery #surgery #rehab

2,221 Likes, 41 Comments - Alex Ranghieri (@alexranghieri) on Instagram: "Slowly coming back ! @xseurope @emporioarmani @aeronautica.militare @oakley #EA7 #recovery..."

Joana Heidrich

The 2018 season was cut short for the Swiss star after she suffered with a slipped disc during the Gstaad Major. Joana underwent surgery and missed the European Championships, in which her partner Anouk Vergé-Dépré paired with her younger sister Zoé. The team was reunited again for the first time in The Hague, where it started its march towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a ninth-place.

Tomorrow starts the 2️⃣ week of our preseason as a team💪🏻 #teamjoanouk👩🏼👩🏻 * * I'll see how my back plays along this week🙌🏻😊 * * Let's do this👊🏻✌🏻 * * Are you ready for the new week? * * 📷 @selinameier_ * * #preseaon #workhardforyougoals #havefun #giveeverything

2,420 Likes, 15 Comments - Joana Heidrich (@joanaheidrich) on Instagram: "Tomorrow starts the 2️⃣ week of our preseason as a team💪🏻 #teamjoanouk👩🏼👩🏻 * * I'll see how my back..."

Monika Brzostek

The Pole had last competed internationally in Long Beach in August 2016, one week after her and partner Kinga Kolosinska represented their country at the Rio Olympics. Brzostek had a baby in 2017 and had just played in national tournaments since them until she returned to the international scene in The Hague, with new partner Aleksandra Wachowicz, finishing 25th.

Ostatnie przetarcie w Opavie przed Orlen Mistrzostwami Polski:)

174 Likes, 2 Comments - Monika Brzostek (@wpiaskownicy) on Instagram: "Ostatnie przetarcie w Opavie przed Orlen Mistrzostwami Polski:)"

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