Itapema, Brazil, May 19, 2018 – Liliana Fernández’s life has changed a lot since last August. One year after she competed in her second Olympic Games, the Spanish gave birth to her first son, Saul. The 31-year-old player returned to the FIVB Beach Vollleyball World Tour in 2018, but her life is definitely not the same.
The blocker returned to the World Tour in February, in the Fort Lauderdale Major, where she played beach volleyball again with long-time partner Elsa Baquerizo for the first time since September 2016.
Three tournaments later, Liliana’s feeling is that she’s learning again the sport she has played for more than a decade.
“I’m feeling better every week,” the Spanish said. “When I came back it looked like everything was new again for me. I was feeling nervous as if I was a rookie. Now I got used to the routine again and I’m also in better shape. I’ve been working on my fitness with different techniques since the second month after Saul was born and that helped.”
Liliana’s form was put on test at the $300,000 Itapema Open on Friday, when Elsa and her had to play three matches during the day. They defeated American teams of Kelly Larsen/Emily Stockman and Summer Ross/Sara Hughes, but fell to Brazilians Agatha Bednarczuk and Duda Lisboa in the Round of 16, finishing 9th.
The Spanish player and her family had to make just a few adjustments to accommodate the needs of the small Saul to her mother’s routine.
Despite of the fact that the baby is as calm as any mother could help for, it’s needed a true team effort to organize and fulfill their daily schedules.
“My husband and his family help me a lot with him and my mother has also stayed with us for a while after he was born,” Liliana told. “But my training routine has not changed too much and in a big part that’s because Saul is a great baby and he behaves amazingly. He sleeps well, eats well and rarely cries. I can take him anywhere I go and I love it.”
For Liliana, who celebrated her first Mother’s Day last weekend, having to choose between her dream of starting a family or her career was never an option. And now, having the best of both worlds, she couldn’t be any happier.
“My life is much better now because I have him,” the player admitted. “My husband was very supportive that I should continue my career after we had Saul. He never thought I should end my career when we became parents and I couldn’t do it without his help and support.”