Edmonton, Canada, July 20, 2019 – Alex Ranghieri was among the best players in the planet between 2015 and 2016, when he won four FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour gold medals and featured in eight final fours and the Rio 2016 Olympics with former partner Adrian Carambula, but the last two years have been considerably different for the Italian.
After sustaining a severe knee injury which sidelined him for the most part of 2018, the blocker has returned to the courts this year with a new partner, Marco Caminati, but his way back to the top hasn’t been as smooth as he might have wanted as the Italians have been playing in several qualifiers and enjoying limited success in the four and five-star World Tour tournaments.
“The hardest part is to realize what the new reality is,” the Italian explained. “Your mind gets used to a different level and then you’re speeding things up and putting pressure on yourself in a moment in which your body is not a 100 percent and you can’t do things you used to. Coming from an injury that kept you out for almost a year and having a new partner, it’s not ideal. But I think we’re slowly putting all the pieces together and our game is getting better.”
Since his return, the blocker, nicknamed ‘The Net Patroller’, has played in nine World Tour events, winning a silver medal in a two-star tournament in Aydin, in May, in one of just two times in which they posted top-ten finishes.
“Winning silver in Turkey was good, but it was a two-star and we’re very aware of that,” he explained. “Our goal right now is to get into the five-stars and it’s hard because the level is crazy, but we’re doing a lot of adjustments in each tournament and we’re improving game after game and finally getting to the level we want. We’re getting more consistent, but we still need to find a way to sneak in.”
Ranghieri’s recipe to return to his best form in simple – he wants to play as much as possible. And he’s certainly getting that this week at the three-star Edmonton Open as Caminati and him have already played in four matches, all three-setters, on their way to the quarterfinals.
“We need to play more,” he remarked. “And that influenced our decision of coming here instead of playing in Espinho this week. At this point we need to play and we knew we’d get it her while in Espinho, with all the top teams there, we could be matched with a tough one on qualifier and our week would be done way too early, as it happened in Gstaad last week.”
The trip over the Atlantic was also tempting to the Italian for familiar reasons. Son of a Canadian mother, the 32-year Ranghieri is a Canadian citizen and he’s having a good time in Alberta. And he plans on returning in the future, this time for good.
“I play with a piece of my heart here,” he added. “I’m really proud of being a Canadian citizen, it’s such a great country and I have great memories from coming here to visit my mom’s family. When I’m done playing I think about moving here and growing my family in Canada.”