Lausanne, Switzerland, January 23, 2020 – Evandro Goncalves recently took some time off from his busy schedule for an interview with the Brazilian Volleyball Confederation (CBV). A world champion in Vienna in 2017, Evandro will be in Doha, Qatar with Bruno Schmidt for the first 4-star event on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour in 2020.
You have received numerous best server awards on the World Tour since 2015. How did you make the serve such a big part of your game?
“The strong service game comes from playing volleyball. I was quite tall and strong in attack, so I tried to transfer this strength to my serve – almost as if it were a deep attack, which I have trained a lot for. I took advantage of my physical attributes to do this. Fortunately, over the years, I have managed to be consistent which is important.
“I’m happy for these awards and for breaking the record of a Russian player who had won it four times. It just gives me more motivation to continue evolving and increases my responsibility to serve well, maintain quality on that foundation. Bruno trusts me a lot and gives me freedom to take charge. Mentally it helps a lot. The coaches are behind it as well, studying the numbers and analysing my performance. They know the difference that my serve makes in beach volleyball.”
What has changed tactically in your game since you started your partnership with Bruno Schmidt? How is your relationship?
“I became a much more patient athlete. He receives more and is more triggered on the attack than I am. I had to learn how to play focused in preparing for the plays and movements, being less triggered on the attack. So he needs me to have all the basics in order for us to score the points.
“He’s a fantastic guy. We played together in Rei de Praia for the first time and I saw his technical quality. In addition to being an older brother, he is a very good person. Our families get along very well too. Everything adds up so our team became stronger throughout 2019 and it will grow even more.”
How is your relationship with coach Ednilson Costa, who has been working with you for so long?
“We went out to dinner recently and realised that we completed nine years working together. It is a long time and we went through many things together – good things and some difficult ones. When I lost my father, he was beside me. When my mother had health problems, he was also beside me. It is a relationship that goes beyond the court. Ours is much more than a coach-player relationship. He is like a father to me. I listen to him in things I do in my private life. My mother and sister are also close to him. He is always present. I have no words to describe my gratitude to Ednilson Porangaba Costa Junior. He empowers me a lot, but we know how to differentiate between professional and personal life. My evolution as an athlete and as a person is closely linked to him, a life partner, without a doubt.
What lessons would you like to take from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games experience to Tokyo 2020?
“I think it is the sense of responsibility to represent my country. There were things we learned from 2016 and we will do it differently this time. We have this chance to manage our schedule. I’m more experienced. I know that I will be there well prepared, at my best and focused.
“I want to be able to help Bruno in the best possible way to achieve our goal to win a medal. We don’t focus on what medal we have to win but our goal is to reach the podium. We are taking it one step at a time by doing well in tournaments before the Olympic Games. It is important that we arrive in Tokyo with a good ranking so that we have a good chance. I experienced many special things in Rio 2016 but it wasn’t the most ideal because we didn’t reach our final goal. But we have a different story now, we have a new team and we will work hard until we land in Tokyo.
If you were not a beach volleyball athlete, what profession would you like to pursue?
“I admire doctors, nurses and people who help save lives – those that take care of the health of others. My sister is a very dedicated nurse and an excellent professional. But I see myself more as a firefighter. I admire the occupations that dedicate themselves to save lives, support the population and are always available in the most difficult situations. This is something I want to pursue. I even would like to visit the facilities and talk to firefighters here in Copacabana one day.”
Who are your idols inside and outside the sport?
“I have three greatest idols in my life. The first is my father because I am a fan of everything he did for our family and the support I got from him in becoming a professional athlete. He’s always in my thoughts whenever I win a title. At the 2017 World Championship, when I collapsed after the title, his image came to mind. It was a competition that he would have liked to see me playing. He always thrived on overcoming all difficulties.
“In sports, my idol is Ayrton Senna. I was quite young during Senna’s winning streak but I always followed his races with my father. He revolutionised Brazilian sport with titles and his conveyance of the image of perseverance, commitment and work.
“Lastly, Stephen Curry. I like basketball very much and I love seeing him play. I keep trying to observe the way he tactically analyses games and how he uses his skills for the team. He’s a spectacular player. I also want to mention Gabigol (football player Gabriel Barbosa). Seeing him play gives me a lot of joy and he recently became an idol.”