14.07.2019 - Gstaad
They have not done it the easy way. Six days ago Alix Klineman and April Ross lost in the World Championship final. A loss in a match of such magnitude would be tough for any athlete to bounce back from – let alone just days later in the next biggest tournament of the season.
Here, in the beautiful Swiss Alps, Alix accidentally described their performance this week as “gruesome”.
She actually meant “grueling” and it’s been just that. 14 matches in the last 16 days. “It’s been 11 days since we played Carol and Maria at the World Championships, and it’s crazy as it just feels like yesterday,” added the 29-year-old former indoor star who was celebrating her first Major Series medal.
But if playing so many top-level games in such a short space of time and winning silver and gold in two of the biggest tournaments of the year, only tells half the story.
In four of their seven matches in Gstaad the pair lost the opening set. They were smashed all over the court by Spain in a pool play loss earlier in the week and in their first elimination match they were 11-1 down in the first set and in trouble.
Yet here they were 1,050 meters above sea level six days after that second place in Hamburg, taking a step to the left on the podium and somehow finding the energy to lift and ring the holy Gstaad cowbells in celebration.
“Devastating” was how April described the loss in Hamburg. For many, a silver at the World Champs would be cause for celebration. But hard work and a remarkably rock-solid mental strength has seen them prevail.
“To bounce back from that and fight has hard as did, especially after some slow starts in matches here, and then do the same in the final, I am really proud,” added the 37-year-old, who became the oldest winner of the golden cowbell in the 20-year history of beach volleyball in Gstaad.
Alix added: “Losing the first set was the story of the tournament. For whatever reason we’ve been having issues but we’ve kept on learning while playing and the biggest thing is we’ve stuck together through all the highs and lows.”