Gstaad, Switzerland, July 10, 2018 – Brazilian beach volleyball experienced one of its biggest mid-season shakeups ever less than two months ago, when the four men’s top teams of the country were rebuilt with new formations.
After playing in three-straight FIVB World Tour four-star tournaments in the last weeks, the new duos are set to compete in the $600,000 Gstaad Major, which will provide for most of them an opportunity to rebound after an inconsistent start.
From the new teams generated with all the moves, Evandro Goncalves and Vitor Felipe were arguably the ones to have the best start. The two, who had played together in 2013 and 2014, collected a silver medal in Warsaw and finished fifth in Ostrava and fourth in Espinho, last weekend.
Bruno Schmidt, the Rio 2016 Olympic champion, and Pedro Solberg, who had also teamed up before, between 2012 and 2013, are facing a tougher road as they had a pair of ninth-places and a 17th-place finish in the three events they played at.
Bruno Oscar Schmidt (left) and Pedro Solberg of Brazil
“This change was about moving out of our comfort zone,” Bruno said. “Alison and I slowed down after the Olympics and it was hard to bounce back, we both needed a new motivation and we decided that it would be the best if we chased new challenges. These first months are of adjustment, even for Pedro and I, who have played together in the past.”
Bruno’s former partner, Alison Cerutti, is now pairing with Andre Loyola, the 2017 world champion. The duo has been inconsistent so far, finishing 5th in Warsaw, 17th in Ostrava and 25th in Espinho.
“We want to qualify for Tokyo 2020, but we know we’ll have to work a lot to get there,” Alison said about the new team. “The good thing is that with all these changes all teams start from the same place. We are looking forward to face difficulties and tough matches as that will make us grow as a team, as it was with Bruno some years ago.”
Alison Cerutti receives the Mikasa as Brazilian partner Andre Loyola follows the action
The three teams debut in the Gstaad Major on Wednesday, when the main draw starts. Brazil can have a fourth team competing for the cowbells in the Swiss Alps if Thiago Barbosa and George Wanderley, another new tandem, advance from Tuesday’s qualifier. They have already posted a pair of wins over Alvaro Filho/Luciano Ferreira and Ricardo Santos/Guto Carvalhaes in the Brazilian country quota match on Monday.
George Wanderley (left) and Thiago Barbosa won the Brazilian country quota playoff Monday in Gstaad