Lucerne, Switzerland, May 10, 2018 – Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta Da Silva is undoubtedly one of the biggest stars gracing the sand courts at the three-star Lucerne event on the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. The Olympic medallist from London 2012 is here with a special mission - to help her young, but talented teammate rise to the world’s highest level.
With the 2011 World Championship title, the two World Championship silver medals from 2005 and 2009 and the Olympic bronze from 2012 on her tally, 34-year-old Juliana continues her glorious career as a beach volleyball athlete showing no signs of stopping.
Refusing to make any long-term plans, Juliana’s mind is set on helping 21-year-old Andressa Cavalcanti Ramalho walk her path to world glory on the sand. The two Brazilians teamed up for the 2018 World Tour season. In their first two tournaments, the four-star event in Xiamen and the three-star in Mersin, they failed to make it past the qualifications, but on their third attempt, Juliana and Andressa made the main draw line-up.
“It feels really good. We played hard to qualify for the main draw,” Juliana said after their second qualification round victory over Poland’s Martyna Kloda and Agata Ceynowa. “This is the first experience for Andressa to represent Brazil abroad. She is really excited to go to the main draw for the first time. We worked a lot after two disappointing results, which we want to forget about. It is a gift for us to make the main draw and I hope we achieve a good result.”
The first big international achievement for Juliana was the gold medal from the U21 World Championship back in 2002. 12 years later, Andressa Cavalcanti triumphed with the title at the 2014 U19 World Championship. Even if this similarity was part of the reason why the two decided to join efforts, for the most part it is the great potential that Juliana sees in Andressa.
“She is very talented. I believe in her a lot,” Juliana continued. “My mission is to help her rise to a high level in the future. I am doing it for my country and for her. We want to get close to the best teams in Brazil and in the world, but it is a long way to get there. We have to work a lot and train a lot, but we believe in it. All we think about is improving and learning from our mistakes. We believe in each other and every single day we discuss what to do to play better together. She accepts what I say and I accept what she says.”
However, the prominent beach volleyballer admits they do not have a set long-term goal.
“For us a good result is to play well,” she stressed. “Right now all we are thinking about is to have a great performance here, in Lucerne. After that we think about the next tournament and so on… After I injured my knee in 2008, I learned my lesson to think about the week, about the month, about the year, but not to plan for longer than that.”
“I am very excited to play besides Juliana,” Andressa added. “I am very happy for qualifying to the main draw and I want to thank her for this gift. I promised her to take a dip into the lake with her, if we made the main draw, because she always asks me to swim with her, but I am not very keen on getting into the cold water. Now it is time for me to keep my promise…”
So she did… Right after the interview, the two took a swim in the cold waters of the beautiful lake.
“Thank you, Juliana, for getting into the main draw with me, for helping me with my English and with my swimming!” Andressa told her teammate when they came back out.