Rome, Italy, September 8, 2019 - It seems like it takes only one word to get the best out of Russians Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Viacheslav Krasilnikov.
Quick links - Beach volleyball:
“We just like the tournaments with ‘world’ in the name, that’s very good for us,” Stoyanovskiy said with a smile. “I’m glad we can play our best games in the best tournaments.”
The duo clearly outshined the rest of the planet when it captured the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Hamburg, Germany, in July.
Sunday, it was the World Tour Finals at Foro Italico, where they vanquished Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler of Germany, the same team they defeated in the World Championships final. In fact, the Russians also outplayed the same German team in The Hague, Netherlands, in the first World Tour event in 2019.
“We have played them in two finals before and we knew they were a really good team,” Stoyanovskiy said. “They are a great sideout team and they served really well in this tournament. We played really well overall but the key for us was to keep our sideout solid.”
That’s where Krasilnikov stepped in, becoming a dynamic force not only in the final but in the semifinals against No. 1s Norway on Saturday night.
“When we first got together last year, we couldn’t imagine we would win the two most important tournaments of the season,” Stoyanovskiy said. “I’m really happy and it’s great to see that we played at our best in the most important moments."
The three times Thole, 22, and Wickler, 24, fell in the finals to the Russians were their only appearances in finals this season. Despite the defeats, those events were a break-through for the young team and could serve as a springboard into 2020.
“We never thought two years ago when we met up as a team, we can grow so quick into world class,” Wickler said. “It’s been so fast what we’ve been able to reach this season. We lost three times in finals to Krasilnikov and Stoyanovskiy. I think next season we will beat them once or twice.”
The Russians close their season with a 55-13 match record. The Germans are 34-16 on the FIVB World Tour.
While both teams have been overshadowed by the Norwegians and their seven tour victories in 2019, not even the world champion Russians mind the accolades handed to Anders Mol and Christian Sorum.
“Yes, but we still like this position where we are underdogs,’ Stoyanovskiy said. “We just play our game and try to focus on our things.”