06.07.2019 - Hamburg, Germany
April Ross knew better when she told us that Alix Klineman and her were doing just the right things as they prepared for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Hamburg 2019 presented by comdirect and ALDI Nord.
The American duo played an amazing tournament, but came up just one match short from the elusive gold medal at the Rothenbaum Stadium losing to Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes in the final at the Red Bull Beach Arena.
After the game, April, who secured her third World Championships medal after striking gold in Stavanger 2009 and silver in Vienna 2017, explained her mixed feelings about their final result.
“To get here and have it being Alix’s first World Championships, it would have been so amazing to win gold,” the 37-year-old veteran said. “We’re obviously very happy to win a silver medal, this is the best I’ve ever done in a World Championships in an Olympic qualifying year and it goes a really long way until Tokyo, so we’re really proud about that, but it stings a ton to not have gold.”
The biggest frustration for the Americans was to not have played at their best level in the most important match to date of their partnership, which started at the beginning of 2018. April and Alix had played Sarah and Melissa in two finals this year, at the American AVP Huntington Beach tournament and at the World Tour four-star in Itapema, and they had won both.
And to know they had what it took to beat the Canadians and step on top of the podium themselves made this setback even harder to digest.
“It’s hard because we were for sure capable of winning and we did it before,” Alix, who scored six block points in the final, commented: “Unfortunately we didn’t come out at our best today, it just wasn’t there, and they put us in some tough situations as just part of us not being at our best. They’re a great team and we respect them a lot, but we really believe that we didn’t do our best and that’s really disappointing.”
With the silver medals around their necks, Alix and April are already looking forward to next week, when they will head to the Swiss Alps and try to look for that step forward at the Swatch Major Gstaad.
“I think I still have a lot of growth to go though and this is part of this growth and hopefully when the next tournament rolls around we’ll be standing on top of the podium,” April added. “In a way, it motivates us to be even hungrier next week in Gstaad and fight for all those qualifying points.”
Alix, who transitioned to the beach in 2017 after a successful volleyball career and didn’t start competing internationally until last year, echoed her partner and turned her focus to the next Major tournament in Gstaad where the team will be looking for another massive chunk of Olympic qualification points to add to the 1.440 they earned in Hamburg.
“I’m super proud that we got a second place here,” she reflected. “A lot of these matches were super hard-fought and we progressed a lot during the tournament. This isn’t the end we dreamed of, but luckily we have another big tournament right around the corner and I’m sure this will fuel the fire for us and we’re going to study like we always do and come back stronger. I’m not worried about us moving forward and figuring out how to get better from this and we’re already motivated, so watch out.”