Hamburg, Germany, August 26, 2017 – If something was missing for Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, it’s not anymore. After collecting the most important titles around the world for the last 13 months, the Germans returned home to Hamburg this week to win the $800,000 Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals presented by Vodafone.
It was the perfect finale for one of the most productive runs a beach volleyball team has ever had. Since August of 2016, Ludwig and Walkenhorst have won the Olympic Games, the World Championships and the World Tour Finals twice.
“Olympic champion is cool, world champion is pretty cool as well, but winning the World Tour Finals here is just awesome,” said Ludwig after their 2-1 win over Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk and Duda Lisboa in the gold medal match. “It will take us a few days to realize what we’ve achieved this season. Hamburg loves beach volleyball and we could feel it in the court throughout the week. I’ve never had that somewhere else.”
But the year has not been only flowers to the Germans as both Ludwig and Walkenhorst struggled with shoulder issues that sidelined them for a chunk of the season. Aside from the World Tour Finals and the World Championships, the Olympic and world champions played only three international tournaments together in 2017.
“It’s been crazy,” Walkenhorst commented. “We knew that Laura’s shoulder injury would take some time to heal but when she came back then I was injured so it was a bit frustrating. But to now sit here and win the World Championship and now the World Tour Finals is really amazing. It gives us a lot of self-confidence and I think a big reason for that is the team we have behind us helping us.”
With the international season over, their goal now is to enjoy their accomplishments, rest their bodies and prepare to come back even stronger in 2018.
“I think we can play even better than this year and last year,” added Walkenhorst. “When you feel you can do something better you have the motivation to go and train hard every day and work hard.”