It is beach volleyball as usual for Alvaro Filho as the Olympian-to-be celebrates his 30th birthday in Saquarema today where he and Alison Cerutti will be seeking their third-straight domestic title this weekend at the Brazilian Volleyball Development Centre.
“It won’t be the first time it happens,” Alvaro said about playing in a beach volleyball event on his birthday. “With our careers, we’re frequently on the road so I think everyone gets to experience that at some point. It’s tough being away during birthdays or anniversaries, but we learn how to deal with it. We had a little birthday party one week in advance in Joao Pessoa this past weekend so I could celebrate it with my friends and family. It was fun.”
An early birthday present arrived for Alvaro on October 11 when he became a father as his wife Marcella Trombetta gave birth to the couple’s first child - Dom. “The birth of my son has changed my life in an extremely positive way,” said Alvaro. “I feel a more complete person now, it’s a dream I had, a new phase in my life and I’m enjoying each minute of it.”
With his last international competition over 14 months ago in Rome for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals, Alvaro is grateful for the opportunity to be playing the last month on the Brazilian Tour.
“There’s nothing better for us than playing and we know that it’s been a difficult moment for everyone in the world, so for us to be able to compete, it means a lot,” said Alvaro, who has won 10 Brazilian domestic titles and played among the top three finishers 26 times. “We saw some other countries like the United States and some European nations having their tours a few months ago and it’s nice for us to be doing the same now. The Brazilian Tour is especially important for us in a lot of different ways and it helps us accomplish several of our goals and prepare well for the international season.”
Playing with two-time Olympic medal winner Alison since April 2019, Alvaro said his team has been “training in Vitoria for most of the time. But after the birth of my son, my wife and him remained in my hometown Joao Pessoa where they have better support from our families. So, I’m going back and forth from Vitoria to Joao Pessoa and I’ve been fortunate that my good friends from CT Cangaço have opened the doors for me to train with them when I’m there.”
Alvaro and Alison have played in 13 FIVB World Tour events together with a 48-18 match mark with gold medal finishes in 2019 at stops in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) and Portugal (Espinho) followed by second-places at back-to-back events in Vienna and Moscow. The pair also posted a fourth at the Tokyo Olympic test event in July.
As for his pairing with Alison, Alvaro calls him “a great partner in every aspect. He’s one of the most professional, hard-working partners I’ve had. We get along pretty well on and off the court and it helps that we’re going through very similar moments in our personal lives as we both got married in the same year and while my son was born recently his wife and him are currently expecting their first daughter. We’ve been able to share a lot both at the professional and personal levels.”
As for the postponement of the 2020 Olympics, Alvaro said he was “surprised when I first heard the news. But in the end, I understand it’s all part of this new reality we’re all having to deal with. I tried to look at the positives of this unfortunate situation and it was nice to get to spend more time with my family and to get to know Alison better and have more time to build our team.”
The most valuable player at the 2013 World Championships in Stare Jablonki, Poland, Alvaro has won World Tour events with four different partners considered among the best international blockers - Ricardo Santos, Pedro Solberg, Saymon Barbosa and Alison.
“I’ve had quite a few partners and I’ve learned a lot from each of them,” said Alvaro. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have the opportunity of playing with these four, but also with Vitor Felipe. They are all exceptional players and I’m incredibly lucky to have accomplished some of my goals with them. Our sport requires a huge ability to adapt even because of the weather conditions, so I think it comes naturally in regard to partners in a certain way.”
Alvaro started playing internationally in 2008 as he and Vitor Felipe represented Brazil at three Age-Category World Championships and collected silver medals together at the Under-21 finals in England and Turkey in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
After playing in four World Tour events in 2011 and 2012 highlighted by a fourth-place finish in his first events with Neilton Santos in July 2011 at Quebec, Canada, Alvaro completed his first full-season on the international circuit in 2013 with Ricardo as the pair placed second at the World Championship in Stare Jablonki followed by a gold medal the next week in Gstaad, Switzerland.
After playing with Ricardo in 19 events, Alvaro teamed with Solberg for the final two events in 2014 highlighted by a gold medal finish in their initial event together in August 2014 at Stare Jablonki. The next season Alvaro started competing with Vitor Felipe again as the pair compiled a 53-39 match mark for 18 events with one semifinal appearance at the start of the 2016 season in Maceió, Brazil.
Alvaro started playing with Saymon in 2017 as the pair won a gold medal in their first World Tour gold medal event together by upsetting compatriots Evandro Goncalves and Andre Loyola twice en route to winning the Fort Lauderdale Major. Injuries for Saymon ended the partnership in 2018 as Alvaro started the 2019 season with Ricardo before former the Alison partnership in April.
“I miss the international competition a lot,” said Alvaro, who has compiled a 225-145 match mark (60.8 winning percentage) for 81 FIVB World Tour events with 14 medals, 19 final fours and 33 quarterfinal appearances. “The best on the planet are in the World Tour and I can’t wait to face them again. And I miss the fans even more. I love the feeling of playing in a packed stadium and unfortunately that isn’t an option right now.”
As for his most memorable moments on the World Tour, Alvaro said he “had quite a few remarkable moments. The first that comes to my mind is my first-ever event, in Quebec, when I partnered with Neilton and we made it to the semifinals. I’ve played on the right during my entire career and in that event, I played on the left, which was something new at the time. It was fun that before the tournament I took a photo with Rogers and Dalhausser, who were the reigning Olympic champions at the time, and we played them in the semifinals. Two years later, with Ricardo, we took silver at the World Championship and gold right after it in Gstaad, which was incredibly special. I also remember a nice victory with Pedro in Stare Jablonki in 2014. In 2017, with Saymon, we started the Fort Lauderdale Major in the country-quota and won the tournament without losing any sets. And the run I had with Alison last year, when we moved from 46th to third in the world rankings in just a few months after winning a three-star event in Malaysia and a four-star tournament in Portugal, was incredible.”
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020