13.07.2019 - Gstaad, Switzerland
Losing a final hurts and if that setback means you’re not taking home the golden cowbells of the Swatch Major Gstaad, arguably the most coveted prize of international beach volleyball, it gets it even harder to swallow.
Dutchmen Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen had to deal with that as they lost the gold medal match in the Swiss Alps to Norwegians Anders Mol and Christian Sørum, but disappointment certainly wasn’t their only feeling just a few minutes after they played in their first Beach Major Series final since June 2016, when they were second in Hamburg.
“It’s a big step in the right direction,” Meeuwsen commented. “It gives us a lot of confidence for now. And to get a medal in Gstaad, a place I really love and want to return every year, it’s really nice.”
The Dutch’s campaign in Gstaad has put them back among the beach volleyball elite in a crucial moment of the season as Brouwer and Meeuwsen headed to the Swiss Alps with a couple of disappointing 17th-place finishes, including one at the World Championships in Hamburg, the most important tournament of the season.
“It was mentally tough for us after finishing 17th at the World Championships, which was quite disappointing,” Brouwer reflected. “But to get back here after a loss to the Italians in our first match, that means a lot. We came together with our entire team and had a really good conversation and from that moment on we played the way we want to play.”
Even if it was undeniably a step forward, though, that level wasn’t enough to challenge the world number ones Beach Volley Vikings in the final, as Meeuwsen noted.
“It was pretty tough,” he acknowledged. “We put in our best effort and it wasn't even close to enough. They played well and when they do so, it's a completely different level. So it’s up to us to practice hard and find a way to beat these guys.”
That however, doesn’t mean the Dutch are too far removed from being in position to take the Norwegians down. They are, in fact, one of the very few teams in the world to who can brag about having a positive record (4-3) against Mol and Sørum and they were the ones who ended the Vikings’ 15-match winning streak last year.
“Frustration is a word that's not part or my vocabulary,” Brouwer remarked. “To me, it’s only motivation to find a way and we will. Next year we obviously have a big tournament coming our way in the Olympics, so it’s about practicing hard and finding a way.”
After all, what doesn’t kill you just makes you stronger, right?