Vienna, Austria, August 1, 2017 – A lot has already happened during the first five days of the 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1, but according to Olympic and world champion Julius Brink the best is yet to come.
The 35-year-old former German player is following the action very closely in Vienna and, although he already sees the top teams of the world putting up competitive games in the Austrian capital, he’s convinced that the last four days of the tournament will bring the best of them to present what could be the most interesting matches the sport has ever witnessed.
“The performance level is getting better and better since the first Major in Fort Laurderdale in February and every team wants on be on top here,” he commented. “Talking to the players, I feel that no one is thinking about medals yet, they are all focused on the pool play. I am really looking forward to the elimination rounds, from Thursday on. I see the performances getting even better and I think we’ll see the best beach volleyball we’ve ever seen”.
When asked about what teams were surprising him so far in the tournament, Brink took no time to point to the local players, who are over-performing in front of their passionate home fans.
“It’s quite interesting that all Austrian teams are playing better than what their usual level is. They can be a dark horse for anyone here,” he noted.
One of the reasons for the Austrian success is obviously the massive support they are getting from the stands every time they step on the centre court. The energy Brink has noticed in the tournament is something unique according to the former player.
“The atmosphere is outstanding, like always in Austria,” Brink commented. “Beach volleyball is big here and it has a long history with tournaments being played in Klagenfurt for ages. Even though they are fanatical about the Austrians, the audience is very fair with all the players. They are really excited since this is the biggest tournament they’ve ever seen.”
The German legend took some time to play with kids and teenagers on the Volleyball Your Way courts that were set up in the Danube Island. To Brink, the experience was like a trip down memory lane.
“Playing with these kids gave me goosebumps because it reminded me of my childhood,” he said. “That’s how I started, playing on courts that were not professional, with no rules, no referees, but had the most important thing which is the spirit of the sport. It doesn’t matter if it’s sand, a plastic surface, if it’s indoor or grass, all you need to play is a ball and a net.”