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2016-05-24 16:02:00 CEST

Second slam of the season kicks off in Moscow

World’s best jet into Russia for the grandest of Grand Slams

Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca, our Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals winners last year, are aiming to defend their Moscow Grand Slam crown this week. Photo credit: Tomislav MozeTalita Antunes and Larissa Franca, our Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals winners last year, are aiming to defend their Moscow Grand Slam crown this week. Photo credit: Tomislav Moze

If you look up the word ‘grand’ in the dictionary you see that it means “magnificent and imposing in appearance, size or style”.

Combine grand with the term ‘slam’ – “a loud bang caused by the forceful shutting of something” – and hey presto you’ve got yourself the perfect name for a tournament where the world’s greatest converge to fight out to win one of the most glittering prizes in beach volleyball. (Majors apart of course…)

Yes, you’ve guessed it, get the vodka ready… it’s Grand Slam week in Moscow.

It’s the second slam of the season after Rio hosted the first in March, and a whopping USD 800,000 is up for grabs in the Russian capital this week as the battle for Olympic ranking points continues.

A total of 32 countries and 104 pairs go head-to-head in what is a typically competitive competition that pits the world’s best against one another. It is a grand slam after all…

Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera are chasing a second successive Moscow Grand Slam title. Photo caption: Samo VidicAdrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera are chasing a second successive Moscow Grand Slam title. Photo caption: Samo Vidic

But you only have to look down the entry list to get an understanding of how serious this week is. All of the world’s top players have flown in to Moscow and it’s almost silly to name them all (plus we want to keep the word count down!)

All the big guns are present and correct, though. And when you see Russian favorites Semenov/Krasilnikov down as 17th seeds in the men’s half of the draw you realize how serious this week really is in the busy beach volleyball calendar.

It’s the same story with the women. A veritable who’s who of the great and good on the sand. Agatha/Barbara, Pavan/Bansley, Borger/Büthe, Meppelink/Van Iersel – all in Moscow and ready to rumble!

Qualification for both genders kick-off on Tuesday before they all get down to business for the main draw on Wednesday.

Who will be dancing in the Red Square come Sunday? There’s only one way to find out, and we’ll be following every spike of the way between now and the Grand Slam’s grand finale – so stay tuned!

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