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2017-07-03 17:48:00 CET

More Than Sports: No chocolate but laughter

Heidrich/Vergé-Dépré provide details of their partnership before Gstaad Major

When Anouk Vergé-Dépré and Joana Heidrich formed as a new team they had to learn a lot of new things.

Firstly, on court, the Swiss women needed to get used to each other. Anouk, 25, switched from being a blocker to a defender. But off court, she was faced by an extraordinary situation… “Joana doesn’t eat any chocolate!” Anouk tells us. She could hardly believe that a Swiss national, where some if the best chocolate in the world comes from, is not a sweets lover. “However I don’t drink any coffee, so that must have been strange for Joana,” adds Anouk.

Being a beach volleyball team you get to know each other very fast as you spend a lot of time together with your partner. Sleep rhythms or travel rituals can’t be hidden for long. “However, there is no change,” says Anouk. “Joana is a morning person like my former partner Isabelle Forrer and I am absolutely not.”

The moment that changed everything

Anyway, the development of their identity as a team took a while. “When we were opponents, we already practiced a lot together, I knew Anouk as a player, but honestly, not as a person“, Joana admits. Anouk had to cope with the new perspective as defensive player. “At the beginning, I always thought like a blocker, then I had to translate this into defense – but in a competition, this process takes too long,” she laughs. The duo placed 17th at the first two FIVB competitions. They aimed for more, as they won silver and bronze with their former partners at the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals last year.

“Just before the tournament in The Hague our coach told us to stop searching for our identity as a team all the time,” Anouk tells us. “He said we should concentrate more on just bringing the 21 points to our side.” It worked out: Heidrich/Vergé-Dépré beat one top team after the other in the Netherlands. Larissa/Talita (BRA), Ludwig/Walkenhorst (GER), Summer/Sweat (USA) and Agatha/Duda (BRA). In the end, they won silver, their first World Tour medal together. “We know we are both good players but as a new team we knew it takes a little time,” Joana says.

Now they have figured out the winning formula at just the right time, says Joana. At Poreč Major the Swiss also showed a great performance. The just lost in a dramatic quarterfinal after more than an hour in the tiebreak against Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, who took the gold medal on Saturday. Now, Anouk and Joana have all eyes on Gstaad Major.

Both of them do not have the best memories of the tournament from last year. “Last season Gstaad had been my worst tournament,” Joana admits. She and Nadine Zumkehr ranked 25th, a very dissatisfying result for them – and the same applied for Anouk, who placed 17th with Isabelle. This year, they aim for more. “Playing at home is always special,” Anouk tells us. “Friends and family are there and we want to show them that we can play great beach volleyball.” During the last weeks, they have already showed that they do that, now they have to trigger that performance at home. 

Sense of humor leads to success

“At the moment, we are in good shape and have fun on the court,” Joana says. This is also because of a similarity they found out during the last months: “We laugh a lot together, I did not expect that at the beginning,” Joana says. For Anouk, their shared sense of humor is a big plus. “I like that we can laugh about ourselves and about our mistakes. You do not have to take yourself too seriously,” she says.

Kurze Aktivierung vor dem FINALE in Den Haag 🏐🤗 👉🏼 LIVE 1:50pm on youtube https://youtu.be/Dj9MMRj3llQ

1,390 Likes, 19 Comments - Anouk Vergé-Dépré (@anoukvergedepre) on Instagram: "Kurze Aktivierung vor dem FINALE in Den Haag 🏐🤗 👉🏼 LIVE 1:50pm on youtube..."

The Swiss women want to take this positive energy along to the next tournaments – and in four weeks the World Championships start in Vienna. “Now the season is starting at last,” says Joana.

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