Lausanne, Switzerland, February 6, 2018 - A total of 126 teams from 35 countries have officially entered the Fort Lauderdale Major as the international beach volleyball circuit returns to the venue for a second-straight season and third time overall.
The 2018 Fort Lauderdale Major field returns the defending men's champions Saymon Barbosa/Alvaro Filho of Brazil. The 2017 women's winning team is sidelined due to the pregnancy of Talita Antunes, who teamed with Larissa Franca to capture the title in an all-Brazilian finale.
Host United States has 16 total entries in the Fort Lauderdale Major to lead the parade of competitors with eight men's and eight women's teams scheduled to compete on the courts at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park (1100 Seabreeze Boulevard). Brazil has 11 entries (five men and six women) followed by Germany with nine pairs (5 men and four women).
With $600,000 in prize money with the winning teams splitting the $40,000 first-place prizes, the competition schedule will feature three phases, including country quota matches on February 26, qualifying on February 27 and the money rounds start February 28. The women's medal matches will be played on March 3 and the men's podium placement contests on March 4.
With Talita and Larissa missing, the top-ranked women's team in the women's Main Draw will be Canadians Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan. Playing their first full-season together in 2017, Humana-Paredes and Pavan posted seven final four finishes last season in eight events with a gold medal finish at the Porec Major in Croatia along with silver medals in Brazil and Poland, and a third-place finish in Switzerland.
Melissa Humana-Paredes (left) and Sarah Pavan of Canada after winning the 2017 Porec Major gold medal
Other top women's teams include Barbara Seixas/Fernanda Alves and Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa of Brazil, Barbora Hermannová/Marketa Slukova and Kristyna Kolocova/Michala Kvapilová of the Czech Republic, Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude of Germany and Nina Betschart/Tanja Hüberli and Joana Heidrich/Anouk Vergé-Dépré and Switzerland.
With eight teams to qualify on February 27 for each Main Draw, the United States has already placed four women's pairs in the money rounds, including Lauren Fendrick/Nicole Branagh, Kelly Claes/Sara Hughes, April Ross/Alexandra Klineman and Brooke Sweat/Summer Ross. Sweat and Summer Ross are listed eighth on the FIVB ranking list while April Ross and Klineman won the Dela Beach Open in The Hague, Netherlands at the start of January in their first ever FIVB World Tour event together.
Headlining the men's field will be the past three World Championship winning teams along with Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena. Evandro Gonçalves/Andre Loyola (Vienna 2017) and Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt (The Hague 2015) captured the past two world championship gold medals for Brazil while Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands topped the 2013 World Championship podium in Stare Jablonki, Poland.
Florida native Nick Lucena after winning the World Tour Finals for the United States last August in Hamburg, Germany with Phil Dalhausser
Other top men's team in the Main Draw are Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst of Austria, Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo of Italy, Bartosz Losiak/Piotr Kanto of Poland, Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin of Russia. Joining Dalhausser/Lucena in the Main Draw for the United States are Jake Gibb/Taylor Crabb, John Hyden/Theo Brunner and Stafford Slick/Casey Patterson.