As one of the more experienced pairs at the 2017 FIVB World Championships, Lupo and Nicolai will be looking to validate their silver medal finish at the Rio 2016 Olympics Games with a high placement in Vienna. Qualifying via their international ranking, Lupo and Nicolai have placed ninth and 17th in their previous two appearances in the world championships. This year’s event marks Nicolai’s fifth-straight appearance in the worlds while Lupo will be playing in his fourth. Nicolai’s international career started by placing on the podium at three of four starts in FIVB youth world championships as he captured the under-21 gold medal twice with Francesco Giontella in 2007 and 2008. Nicolai debuted on the FIVB World Tour in 2008 with Lupo’s initial start in 2010. The Italians have captured three FIVB World Tour titles, including 2014 back-to-back tournament wins in China (Fuzhou and Shanghai).