Russian stars Semenov and Krasilnikov have their sight set on gold in Anapa
2014 CEV Beach Volleyball Satellite - Anapa
Anapa, Russia, January 16, 2014. Konstantin Semenov and Viacheslav Krasilnikov top the entry list of the CEV indoor Satellite in Anapa. However, the final section of the last season was quite uneasy for Russia’s top Beach Volleyball pair. Before the first game of the Main Draw starting on Friday, Semenov and Krasilnikov discuss the way they feel at the very beginning of their campaign this year.
Can you estimate your own readiness for the coming season?
Semenov: “The preparations just got started. So indeed it’s hard to speak about readiness at all. But as far as we could we tried to get back in shape after the last hard season and the vacations that followed. We are approaching the CEV Satellite tournament here in Anapa in a condition that, I hope, will help us show our level and deliver a good performance.”
Which are your goals?
Semenov: “I can’t say that the level of the tournament is the highest, though there are several teams of very good quality. Anyway we must make the podium but our real goal is of course the gold medal.”
Krasilnikov: “It would be great to collect some ranking points as well as to start the season with a good result. However that won’t be easy at all. There is a very good team from Germany, i.e. Armin Dollinger and Clemens Wickler, and a good Turkish duo as well. And of course the Russian guys are also very dangerous. One should also keep in mind that Russian teams now could be in a better form than we are as we didn’t participate in the last tournaments of the previous season and so don’t have enough practice.”
Viacheslav, as far as we know, this pause was caused by your health problems?
Krasilnikov: “Yes, after the end of the Cup of Russia we arrived here in Anapa to prepare for the next tournament of the World Tour in Brazil. But I got to feel the effects of an old knee injury. So the coaches decided I shall undergo surgery. It took place in late September and by November I already started my fitness program. In December I returned to the court to have my first training together with Konstantin. Now the knee is practically fully recovered.”
Both of you changed partners halfway through the last season; what was the reason for that?
Semenov: “We teamed up quite spontaneously. My previous teammate Yaroslav Koshkarev had a bad tonsillitis that turned into bronchitis right during the CEV European Championship Final in Klagenfurt. We had to withdraw from the tournament. In order for me to keep in good shape, the coaches decided to try me out in combination with Viacheslav at the FIVB Berlin Grand Slam. We were not expected to show anything special, we just had to keep our normal pace. But we managed to perform perfectly right from the go and won the silver medal. Initially we were planning to return to our usual partners after the tournament but the coaches decided to go further and test Yaroslav with Viacheslav’s former partner, Ruslan Bykanov. It worked; so we now only have to understand each other better and better!”
What let you reach that unexpected result in Berlin?
Semenov: “First of all there was a surprise effect. It was difficult to find a weak point in our game since we really did not prepare anything beforehand and played in many respects spontaneously. We just enjoyed the game without making any special demands from each other. Our success is the first but very good sign for Russia’s comeback after the regular international achievements of Dmitry Barsouk and Igor Kolodinsky. Perhaps it’s time now for our country to get back to where we belong also on the international stage.”
But what should you do now to repeat the success from last year?
Semenov: “We can’t always rely on the factors that I was just talking about. Now we must turn into a real team, achieve the right team work. Only the upcoming tournaments can help us reach this goal. So this season could potentially become a good test of our real capabilities.”
Do you feel like the indoor Beach Volleyball that you are expected to play here in Anapa is real Beach Volleyball?
Krasilnikov: “Of course Beach Volleyball should be played outdoors. Here all the teams are put in the same conditions and so the pairs that have problems with resisting the natural obstacles, such as the sun, the wind or the rain, get a certain advantage playing indoors.”
Semenov: “And also one has a lot of reference points in the hall – the ceiling, the walls. That helps very much, especially in receiving and setting. It’s like classic Volleyball, only you have sand under your feet. Anyway it’s the only opportunity to play in January so we have nothing to complain about.”
Click here for more information on the CEV Satellite in Anapa