Ostrava, Czech Republic, June 21, 2018 – The reigning world champion of men’s beach volleyball, Andre Loyola Stein of Brazil, played his first official match with his new partner, reigning Olympic champion Alison Cerutti, as main draw action at the Ostrava four-star stop on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour got underway on Thursday.
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A major reshuffle of the big men’s pairs in Brazil was recently announced and the Ostrava Open is the first tournament, where the new partnerships are put to the test. Top-seeded Alison and Andre dominated their match against Czech wild cards David Lenc and Filip Habr and, despite a valiant performance from the home team, emerged with a 2-0 (21-12, 21-18) victory.
“I am very happy and excited to play with Alison. He is the best blocker in the world and I am a defender. It is easy to play with him,” Andre said after the game. “But this was only our first match. We need to play more in order to play better.”
Alison and Andre after winning their first World Tour match together
Asked about the reason for the sudden changes, Alison, who had been partnering with Bruno Oscar Schmidt since the beginning of the 2014 season, simply said, “Andre is a younger boy and has a better future. He is my new project for Tokyo 2020. This is the same situation as that of Emanuel and Alison years ago.”
To the same question, Andre answered, “Alison is a big player, and... we come from the same city, Vila Velha in Espirito Santo, so now I get to live and train in my city and be together with my family, my girlfriend, my friends... With Evandro, I had to live away, in Rio de Janeiro.”
Andre teamed up with Evandro Goncalves Oliveira Junior for the start of the 2017 season and this quickly proved to be a very successful project, with a silver medal from their first tournament, in Fort Lauderdale. Later into the season, they lifted the trophy at the World Championship in Vienna and at the age of 22 Andre became the youngest world champion in beach volleyball. They followed up with silver from the World Tour Finals in Hamburg.
Andre and Evandro receive the 2017 World Championship trophy from FIVB President Graça
To this already impressive tally, just last month, in May 2018, Evandro and Andre added silver from Huntington Beach and gold from Itapema. So only five years after he started playing beach volleyball, Andre already has a showcase of three gold and three silver medals of the highest world calibre.
“I was 18 when I started playing beach volleyball in 2013 and it was in my city, together with Alison and Bruno,” Andre remembers. “Before that I played basketball, but when I was 15 I started playing indoor volleyball. I like both sports, but when a coach called me to play volleyball, I enjoyed it, I kept training and the results started coming.”
Even with things happening so well and so fast for young Andre, he does not lose touch with reality and knows that the road to Tokyo, even with two-time Olympic medallist Alison by his side, is going to be a very difficult one.
Andre Loyola: “When I play, I am only thinking about my game...”
“We want to play at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, but it is a long way to go. We know we have to work very hard to play in Tokyo, because other teams in Brazil are very good too. I am young, but it is not easy, because the new generation in Brazil is very good and I need to work more and more... But this is a new project and we are very excited,” Andre said. “When I play tournaments like this one, I try not to think about the fact that I am the world champion. I am only thinking about my game and, then, about the next game...”