15/07/2017 11:09
Menegatti and Perry – good match in the making, taking it one match at a time
2017 CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship - Alanya Masters

Alanya, Turkey, July 15, 2017.  2011 European champion and two-time Olympian Marta Menegatti is certainly the biggest star gracing the sand courts at Kleopatra Beach with her participation in the 2017 CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship - Alanya Masters. Teaming up with much less experienced, but not less fascinating as a Beach Volleyball player Rebecca Diane Perry, Marta hopes to keep her Turkish success story moving forward.

Having lost in the first round to another two-time Olympian, Spain’s Elsa Baquerizo McMillan, and her partner Paula Soria Gutiérrez, they got onto the winning track with a victory over the home team Bugra Eryildiz and Merve Celebi to stay in contention. After their first competition day is finished, they take time to sit down and talk about their newly formed partnership, their performance, their hopes and their goals.

“We have to play better, to battle more… We focused better for the second game and we are still in the tournament. We have to forget the first match and think forward,” Menegatti says. “I think we can improve a lot, but I think we are a good match. This is just the second season for Rebi. I know that when you come from indoor Volleyball and want to become a really good Beach Volleyball player, you need time. You need to play matches and gain experience to understand this game, because it is really, really different.”

On the day they played against the Turkish duo, the Turkish media officially announced that this fall Rebecca Perry will be joining THY ISTANBUL, also known as the Turkish Airlines team. She had been away from indoor Volleyball and playing only on the sand for more than a year and a half and it was only normal that that was the first thing she had to comment on.

“Beach Volleyball is right now my number one love and I wish that I could stay with it, but unfortunately indoor Volleyball pays the bills and I have a house to pay for,” Perry explains her decision. “I had some other offers to play in the Champions League, but I chose Turkish Airlines, because Volleyball in Turkey is really high-level and even the second division is really strong. They seem really ambitious and really professional and it is a big goal for them to make it to the first division. I want to play for a team that has that goal of winning a championship. And I like Istanbul a lot! The club also supports that I am playing Beach Volleyball and I am in a position to finish the season with enough time to return to Beach Volleyball. Unfortunately, I will not have an off-season for Beach Volleyball and that is going to interfere with the amount of improvement I could have on the beach during these eight months. But what is most important is that I will still be able to come back for the beach season next April.”

“I am really proud to play for Turkish Airlines, but I had not publicised it anywhere, because I wanted to focus on Beach Volleyball until the season is over. The fact that the news came out in Turkish media while I am playing at the Alanya Masters in Turkey is a mere coincidence I guess. But my life is full of coincidences...” she adds.

Some two years ago Perry, who was born in Texas in 1988, formally took on Italian citizenship and went on to change her federation with the FIVB. “But I have been Italian my whole life. I was supposed to be born with a passport, but my great grandfather never had that done for my grandfather, so he could never do it for my mom, so she could never do it for me. We finally had it done after tracking down some birth documents from Italy that prove our ancestry. It feels really good!” Perry tells her story. “I took it upon myself to change federations, knowing that there is a limit to the number of foreigners that could play on an indoor team in Italy. Maybe it was destiny, because on the same day in November 2015 that I got the email officially confirming my change of federation, I also got a phone call from our assisting coach saying, ‘We heard you got a passport, so would you be interested in changing federations and playing Beach Volleyball for Italy?’ That was so weird, because I had already done it and it had literally gone through that day.”

Several months later Perry and Menegatti are already teammates and 2017 is their first season together as a pair on the sand. “Marta had to find a new partner and when the coach she has had for ten years told her that he sees potential in me and we could be a really good team together, she took his valuable advice and decided to call me and ask me if I would be her partner,” Perry explains how it happened.

“The first goal at the beginning of the season was to qualify for the World Championship and we made it. We are very satisfied, because we had some problems. We started at the beginning of February and did not have much time to prepare, so it was difficult for us. Now we need to focus game by game, do our best to win and to improve our level,” Menegatti comments.

With her previous partner, Viktoria Orsi Toth, she came to Alanya some seven years ago, and won silver medals at the 2010 FIVB U21 World Championship. Now she is back at the beautiful Mediterranean coast of Turkey and admits this country has been good to her.

“Yes, I have some really good memories from here. I like Turkey. I like playing here even if it is really, really hot and difficult to play. But each time it has been great for me. Also two years ago, Viki and I finished second at the Antalya Open on the FIVB World Tour.”

Perry also takes the excessive Alanya temperatures quite philosophically. “The heat adds one more level to the game,” she says. “Beach Volleyball is like chess. You have to think about what you are doing and what the other team is doing. So if it is already which team is stronger with technique and tactics, now it is which team is stronger when you are under the pressure of the sun. But other than being hot, Alanya is a beautiful resort town with many tourists from many nationalities vacationing here. Having just played against the Turkish team, I saw more people on the stands, cheering proudly for their own, than I expected to see. So it is a nice atmosphere to play in.”

“Now we focus on our next match. We always focus on the next match. We take it one game at a time and hope to win all the way to the podium,” Perry concludes.

Engage with the 2017 CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship - Alanya Masters on social media by using the competition’s official hashtag #EuroBeachVolley.

Click here for more information on the Alanya Masters.

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