Andre Loyola willing to eat sand as he transitions to defence

Vienna, Austria, August 2, 2018 – The massive shakeup that took Brazilian beach volleyball by storm a couple of months ago impacted all of the elite players in the country, but it’s fair to say that no one was more affected by it than Andre Loyola.

The 23-year-old world champion left Evandro Goncalves to pair with Alison Cerutti and with the partner change also came an important shift in his game as he is working to become a full-time defender now.

The team is playing in its fifth tournament together this week at the A1 Major Vienna presented by Swatch and progress, according to Andre, comes step-by-step. The transition has not been easy, but he’s up for the challenge.

“It’s completely different than what I used to do,” he said about his new role. “I used to split block with Evandro, but we had a different strategy. I’m still learning and our coaching staff is working slowly with me on that. The biggest thing for me is getting my readings right. Once I do that, it shouldn’t be too hard to be a good defender having a blocker like Alison in front of me. I’m sure we’ll find the best system for us.”

Andre is the kind of player who can perform a variety of roles on a beach volleyball court. During his still short World Tour career, which started in 2015, the Brazilian has played either as a blocker or a defender and in both the right and the left sides of the court.

He hopes the versatility can help him as his career moves forward.

“Some of the great players of the history of the game like Emanuel and Ricardo did that and I think it shows how good it can be,” he commented. “It only helps. I’ve gone through several role changes since I started my career and this versatility allows me to pair with any player. I think we could see other guys doing the same soon as we have several teams with two tall players, so it could become a trend.”

Andre and Alison started strong in the Vienna Major as the 11th-seeded Brazilians posted a 2-0 (21-17, 21-13) win over the Netherlands’ Christiaan Varenhorst and Jasper Bouter.


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