A happy birthday for Herrera

29.06.2019 - Hamburg

Veteran Spaniard celebrates first win in Hamburg – and is now eyeing a place in the semi-finals… eventually!

He can’t remember all of his birthdays – indeed he was sure he had never played before on it – but Pablo Herrera could afford a smile after celebrating his 37th birthday with an opening victory at the World Championships on Saturday.

Together with long-time partner Adrian Gavira, the Spaniard got past Venezuela’s Tigrito Gomez and Carlos Rangel in straight sets to get off to a winning start in what is the veteran’s ninth World Championships.

“It feels good – I’m getting old, it’s another year in the body!” laughed Herrera. “It was a tough game, they made it very hard for us, especially their float serve, but Adrian was great in the block and on serve and we won so it’s nice to win.”

The Spaniards, who first began playing together at the start of the 2009 season, have finished fifth four times and have never gone beyond the quarter-finals.

And now the pair hope it’s time that record changed here in Hamburg.

“I think our best performance at a World Championships was the last one in Vienna,” said Pablo. “I have played in eight championships before but that was the best. I remember every single one but the last was my favorite as we had a good chance.

“We had a great opportunity to get in the semi-final but lost 16-14 in the third set to the Dutch [Maarten van Garderen/Christian Varenhorst].”

The experienced defender has had a memorable career, the highlight of which was an Olympic silver in Athens with Javier Bosma in 2004.

And the former Under-21 world champion – “Now that was a really long time ago!” – is eyeing a final four spot inside the Red Bull Beach Arena.

“We’ve lost four quarter-finals which is frustrating but that’s the aim: to get through to the semi-finals and the chance to try and win a medal.

“We’ve got our first win, that’s in the pocket, but there’s a long, long wait to go yet before we start to think about that.”

Happy birthday, Pablo – hopefully you can remember day in the future!