Rome, Italy, August 29, 2019 – International beach volleyball is returning to Rome for the first time in six years from September 4-8 for the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals and probably no player is happier about it than Alison Cerutti.
Quick links - Beach volleyball:
The Brazilian veteran won one of the most important titles of his decorated career at the Foro Italico in 2011, when alongside the legendary Emanuel Rego he topped the podium at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships after beating compatriots Ricardo Santos and Marcio Araujo in the gold medal match.
That, however, was just one of five successful campaigns 'the Mammoth' enjoyed in the Eternal City. Between 2009 and 2013, the Brazilian played in five World Tour events in the Italian capital and advanced to the semifinals in all of them, winning a pair of silver medals with Emanuel and a bronze with Harley Marques. Now he wants to keep his consistency with Alvaro Filho.
“Roma has left a huge mark on my career,” Alison reflected. “Playing there always comes with an extra responsibility due to my positive record, but it’s a different moment of my career now. I’m very motivated to do well there one more time, now with Alvaro. It’s a tournament where every team will be looking for a good finish because of the Olympic qualification, so it’s going to be tough.”
Alison and Emanuel flanked by fellow Brazilians Marcio Araujo and Ricardo Santos (left) and Germans Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann on the World Championships podium in 2011
The Italian city has left the best possible impressions in the Brazilian both on and off the courts. The 33-year-old blocker's most vivid memories, however, relate to the interactions he had with the thousands of fans who filled the stands of the Foro Italico to watch him play.
“I love playing in Rome,” the Rio 2016 Olympic champion added. “It’s a great venue, a fantastic city and I have great memories of the fans there as they are super engaged and warm. My grandparents are Italian, so I have some connection with the country as well. I feel like all the athletes were really looking forward to having a World Tour event in Rome again and I hope it can remain in the calendar for many years to come.”
Alison will enter the main draw of the $600,000 FIVB World Tour Finals on September 5 looking for his sixth semifinal appearance in Rome. It is an ambitious target with the teams lining up to play in Rome, but it’s one Alvaro and Alison have prepared well for with consistent results over the last couple of months.
After joining forces in March, the Brazilians have learnt to play together and head to Rome still fresh from reaching the semifinals in four straight World Tour tournaments, taking gold in Espinho, silver in Vienna and Moscow and finishing fourth in Tokyo.
Alison is playing with Alvaro at the World Tour Finals in Rome
Their recent results have put the duo in a good spot for the Brazilian qualification process for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. After the Russian World Tour event in Moscow, Alison and Alvaro became the top-ranked Brazilian men’s team with 5,600 points, followed by Evandro Gonçalves/Bruno Schmidt with 5,410 and Andre Loyola/George Wanderley with 4,770.
“We’re very pleased with our progress,” the blocker explained. “We didn’t have much time to practice when we first got together, so we had to figure things out on the fly, with a lot of talking during tournaments and video sessions. It wasn’t easy, but we’ve found a way to make it work and we’re enjoying it and making the most of this moment too.”