Mersin, Turkey, May 2, 2018 – Juliana Felisberta da Silva may be a name that is synonymous with beach volleyball success, but she is not looking back on past glories as she works her way back up the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour rankings.
Currently she is working her way through the World Tour qualification rounds in an attempt to build up her points total so that she can qualify directly for the main draw at 4-Star and 5-Star tournaments.
Juliana only played five World Tour tournaments in 2017, and only two of those were 4 or 5-Star competitions. Three of those were alongside Carol Horta, and the other two with Carol Solberg.
If she had any doubts about how hard it is set to be they were reinforced at the Mersin 3-Star tournament on Wednesday when she and Andressa Ramalho were beaten 2-0 (21-16, 21-10) by Norway’s Ane Hjortlund and Victoria Faye Kjolberg.
“I always try to come back and after missing a long season I am beginning again,” Juliana said. “I have to win points and I want to play in the biggest tournaments, but I’m coming back slowly.
“All players and coaches have been very welcoming to me and saying how good it is to see me on the Tour again. That really makes me happy because I didn’t expect it and I nearly finished beach volleyball, but I think I’ve still something to do in beach volleyball.”
Juliana enjoyed a stellar eight-year career alongside Larissa Franca that featured gold at the Rome 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games and seven World Tour titles. She later won an eighth in tandem with Maria Antonelli.
The 34-year-old is in the early days of her partnership with Andressa and Mersin was their second World Tour tournament together following their showing at the Xiamen 3-Star in April where they reached pool play.
At 21 Andressa is one of the rising stars of Brazilian beach volleyball and already has an FIVB U19 Beach Volleyball World Championships gold in her collection after she and Eduarda ‘Duda’ Santos Lisboa triumphed in 2014.
“I’m nearly 35, but I feel like I’m 18,” Juliana said. “My body feels good and if it tells me it’s ok I’ll play, but if it tells me it isn’t I’ll stop.
“Andressa is part of the new generation for Brazil and has a great deal of potential. She needs to play and it is the second tournament she’s played on the World Tour. She is very driven to succeed in beach volleyball and I feel it is my mission to use my experience to help the younger players.
“I missed the crowds and playing in front of them in all the different countries. I really want to improve my world and Brazilian rankings so I can play in bigger tournaments.”