The Hague, Netherlands, March 21, 2019 - Robert Meeuwsen has accomplished a lot during his three decades on earth, and as the Dutchman celebrates his 31st birthday today, he has set his sights on another Olympic medal at the start of another 10 years on the planet.
Quick links - Beach volleyball:
When asked about his next goals in life as one of the world's elite beach volleyball players, the 207 cm (6'9") Meeuwsen quickly stated that he and his 29-year-old partner Alexander Brouwer have set their sights on "winning gold at the Olympics in Tokyo!".
Meeuwsen is at the start of his ninth full season on the World Tour as he has played in 88 FIVB events, including the last 82 tournaments with Brouwer as the pair captured the gold medal at the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships in Poland and the third spot on the Rio 2016 Olympic podium.
When asked about his "most memorable moment as a beach volleyball player," Meeuwsen said he had "to pick two, winning bronze at the Olympics and becoming world champion. Two very big achievements in my career and still proud of them."
Robert Meeuwsen (left) and Alexander Brouwer celebrate a world championship together
As for one memorable match, Meeuwsen was quick to point to the Rio Olympic semifinal meeting for he and Brouwer with Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt where the Brazilians prevailed in three sets - 21-17, 21-23 and 16-14. It was the eighth meeting between the two teams that had won the previous two World Championships with Alison and Bruno finishing first in 2015 in the Netherlands.
"The atmosphere in the stadium with all those Brazilians was insane," said Meeuwsen about the 56-minute match where he had 10 blocks and a 53.3 percent hitting percentage. "A very tense game, coming back in the second set from being 20-17 behind. Unfortunately, we still lost it (the match)!"
Robert Meeuwsen (right) blocking against Alison Cerutti of Brazil at the Rio Olympics
In the days before his birthday, Meeuwsen also answered other questions as he and Brouwer continue to prepare for their next FIVB World Tour event as the fourth-ranked team in the world.
QUESTION - Who was the person responsible for getting you started playing beach volleyball?
MEEUWSEN - "The first person that comes to mind is Michel Everaert. He brought me to the national youth team where Alexander (Brouwer) and Christiaan Varenhorst were already playing. That was the big step for me."
QUESTION - What and why was the reason you started playing beach volleyball?
MEEUWSEN - "I just love the diversity of the game, being good at all aspects of the game and the fact that during the game it’s you and your partner, no coaching allowed, that pressure and responsibility I love."
QUESTION - When and where did you start playing beach volleyball?
MEEUWSEN - "I started playing in Bilthoven, at La Playa Blanca, a beach volleyball school from Paul van der Ven, a former school teacher of mine. This is the place where I went to several times a week, playing in all the training groups, of all ages, just to play as much as I could. It was so fun."
QUESTION - Once you finish playing beach volleyball, what will you do?
MEEUWSEN - "Good question, I’ll definitely look for a new challenge, developing new skills and make sure I have fun in doing that too."