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The best beach volleyball matches no one saw

29.01.2020 - Vienna, Austria

It’s still preseason, but some of the unofficial games we spotted on social media might have been just great

We know. There’s nothing like watching the best beach volleyball teams in the world clashing in fantastic battles during the European summer, be it at the picturesque center court in Gstaad, the Rothenbaum stadium in Hamburg or the electric Red Bull Beach Arena in Vienna.

The adrenaline feeling that you get to share with the thousands of fans who pack the seats around you in all these three locations is unmatched, but if you don’t want to wait until the summer there might be a way you get to witness some top-level beach volleyball matches in, let’s put it this way, a more intimate environment.

It’s still preseason and the one thing beach volleyball teams do in this time of the year besides of building their forms is they play. A lot. With the winter hitting hard in the Northern hemisphere, beach volleyball teams from Europe travel all over the world in their look for good training conditions and they all inevitably end up in the same places, creating the opportunity for some of the most amazing unofficial matches ever. And just a few people get to watch them!

If you happen to be at the right place at the right time, that could be your lucky day. Imagine walking out of your hotel towards the beach in Rio de Janeiro and spotting Brazilian stars Evandro Gonçalves and Bruno Schmidt playing Latvians Aleksands Samoilovs and Janis Smedins with Italians Adrian Carambula and Enrico Rossi watching in the sidelines. That could happen.

Or waking up early for your morning jog while on vacation in Tenerife, Spain, and seeing, just a few meters away from each other, the locals Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera facing Qataris Cherif Samba and Ahmed Tijan and German stars Laura Ludwig and Maggie Kozuch fighting for points with Czechs Marketa Sluková and Barbora Hermmanová. It seems unreal, doesn’t it?

Well, all of that actually happened in the last few weeks.

These are Evandro and Bruno playing Samoilovs and Smedins at the Leblon beach, in Rio. The Europeans recently announced a new coach, Italian Marco Solustri, and headed to Brazil, where it’s summer time, to work hard on their preseason. While they were there, why not to practice with one of the best teams in the planet? Carambula and Rossi cannot be seen in the video, but they’re in Rio with the Latvians, so it’s hard to believe they’d miss it, right?

Ludwig and Kozuch ended 2019 on high note as they won the World Tour Finals in Rome. After some much-needed rest, they wanted to pick up right where they left off so to Tenerife they went. They wanted to keep their practices intense and it you can’t get much better training partners than Sluková and Hermmanová, who have formed one of the best teams in the world for the last few years, can you?

Herrera and Gavira are certainly feeling at home in Tenerife, but they were challenged early in their preseason routine by Samba and Tijan. One of the most athletic teams competing in the World Tour, the Qataris are a handful and gave the veteran Spaniards good reason to start their work in 2020 at full pace.