Hamburg, Germany, August 17, 2018 – The great week Clemens Wickler and Julius Thole are enjoying at the $800,000 Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals presented by Vodafone means a lot more for Germany than just the opportunity of fighting for a medal in the country’s home sand.
The nation, which dominated international men’s beach volleyball not long ago, especially by the hands of Olympic and world champions Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann, has struggled to produce similar results in recent years and the young duo is now bringing some hope things could change soon.
This week, the 21-year-old Thole and the 23-year-old Wickler are ending a successful first season of partnership in front of their fans. The rising stars have amassed four top-ten finishes and one medal, the bronze in the four-star Espinho Open, in 13 tournaments played.
More than that, they have defeated several top-class teams in recent months, including USA’s Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena, Brazil’s Alison Cerutti/Andre Loyola and Evandro Goncalves/Vitor Felipe and Italy’s Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai.
Some of these victories happened in the World Tour Finals, where they are currently guaranteed a place in the quarterfinals, one victory away from contending for medals.
“I think there’s no better way to develop and improve than this,” Wickler commented. “Playing against the best in the world and in our home country, we are really confident that it will push us forward.”
They are currently ranked 26th in the world, but their rise in the final portion of the year indicates that next season they could put Germany in a top-ten position in the world for the first time since 2014, when Jonathan Erdmann and Kay Matysik were 10th.
“Good teams have split, good players have retired,” Wickler explained. “It has been a kind of new beginning for one and a half years and we believe that there will be better times again. We are both ambitious enough to be the ones who want to make beach volleyball strong again for the men in Germany, but there are plenty of other players who could do that.”