Las Vegas, USA, October 20, 2018 – About three months ago, Paolo Nicolai shocked the beach volleyball world when he recorded the fastest serve ever registered in the sport, hitting the ball at an impressive 119 km/h during the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Gstaad Major.
To the 30-year-old Italian, serving is a key component of the modern game and a fundamental that can impact the outcome of any match.
“At this level, if you don’t create trouble for your opponents when they are siding out, it gets really hard to score points,” the Italian explained. “When I’m preparing to serve, I try to stay as relaxed as possible and focused on the toss, which is probably the most important step. Once the ball is at the right spot, all I want is to hit it hard and at the highest point I can, and if I do that, the rest will take care of itself.”
A silver medalist at the Rio 2016 Olympics, Nicolai has been one of the most dangerous servers of the world in the last few season. The Italian, however, has never been elected as the World Tour’s best server – Brazilian Evandro Goncalves was selected in each of the last four seasons.
And that is not something that concerns him.
“Evandro has deserved to win these awards in the last years, his ability to put pressure on the opponents is impressive,” Nicolai added. “He’s the best server in the world right now. This is not something I’m pursuing, my focus is on winning games and medals, but if at some point I get to a place where people consider me the best server in the world that would be awesome.”
Nicolai, however, does expect to become an even more dangerous server. The Italian is aware of the damage he can make from the service line, but he wants to also become more reliable and consistent.