2019-09-12 20:38:00 CET
The victory at the World Tour Finals has showed the Olympic champion is back in the game
She hadn’t been up there for a whopping 744 days, but when Laura Ludwig stepped at the top of the podium of the World Tour Finals last week in Rome, it was very clear that the German star was exactly where she was supposed to be.
The road between her last victory, at the 2017 World Tour Finals in her home sand of Hamburg, and the top of the podium at the Italian capital wasn’t always easy as Laura had to deal with the unexpected retirement of longtime partner Kira Walkenhorst right when she resumed her career after giving birth to her first son Teo and a shaky start with new teammate Maggie Kozuch, but in the end she still found a way to leave the Foro Italico with the gold medal around her neck.
“It felt like a really long time,” the Olympic champion reflected about her last victory before Rome. “Every victory is special in its own way and this one, after a long break, it really feels like a comeback. The entire season was a massive test for us, we were kept on check all the time and had to remain patient and work on the things we really believed. It’s great to see the work pay off at the end of the season because it shows we’re on the right path and keeps us motivated to the next one.”
Even when planned, long breaks and partnership changes can be a nightmare for volleyball players and that includes even the most accomplished ones such as Laura, an Olympic and world champion.
After playing in qualifiers and struggling to get a good finish in the most part of the eight initial tournaments after they teamed up, Laura and Maggie gave the first signs something special was coming when they took a fifth at the Vienna Major after a tough three-set loss to Agatha Bednarczuk and Duda Lisboa.
A month later, they got their payback against the Brazilians and erased any questions about how good they could potentially be together.
“I love competing so much and to know it’s still possible, it means a lot,” the 33-year-old defender added. “Sometimes you have down moments and you’re frustrated and you start thinking that maybe it’s not your time anymore, so I just love that we kept on fighting all season. The team around us is doing a great job but we still want to get better and more consistent.”
Besides of restoring Laura and Maggie’s confidence, their triumph at the World Tour Finals also helped massively on their main goal as a team. With the 1,200 points they captured at the Italian capital, the Olympic champion and the former indoor star were catapulted to the 14th place at the Olympic ranking and are now just 80 points behind Karla Borger and Julia Sude, who are currently the top German team in the list.
“It’s definitely a good step forward regarding Olympic qualification but it’s called a process for a reason, so we try not to think on the whole thing and just focus on each tournament,” Laura commented. “There will be a lot more tournaments next season and we’ll need to go strong on each of them.”