Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 17, 2020 - Brazilian Evandro Goncalves celebrates his 30th birthday today in his home country for the first time in four years.
“I’ll spend the night and have dinner with my mother, my wife, my sister and my brother-in-law," said Evandro, who last played in an FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event on March 13 in Qatar where he and Bruno Oscar Schmidt placed fourth after losing in the medal rounds to Josue Gaxiola/Jose Rubio of Mexico and Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai of Italy.
"We’ll probably eat at home, but restaurants are open now, so maybe we'll go to one of them," said Evandro, who started playing full-time on the World Tour in 2012. "I wish things were different and I could throw a party and have more of the people I love with me on the day, but that’s not the case, so we’ll make sure it’s a fun and special night.”
As for not playing the last four months, Evandro said “I’m normally on the road at this time of the year and this season I’d most likely be in Tokyo already finishing our preparation for the Olympics. I miss traveling a lot, but also training, competing and several other things we can normally do, but not now. I hope this situation changes soon and we can all get back to do what we love, which is playing beach volleyball.”
Evandro said he has “been trying to get better at cooking. It’s not something I’m great at, but I’m improving. And I’m also taking some time to read more. Next on my list is Andre Agassi’s biography (2010, Open: An Autobiography), which I’ll start soon.”
Talking about the coronavirus related quarantine, Evandro said: “I was fortunate that a good friend of mine owns a fitness studio here in Rio and he let me use it. I was the only one using it, so it was safe. Beaches were closed for most of the time and this was the way I found to at least minimise the impact of the long break on my body. It’s not ideal, but it’s what was possible.”
Talking about his partnership with Bruno, Evandro said: “We haven’t been together in four months now. One way we found to use the time to our favour was to watch a lot of film. Our assistant, Pedro (Nolasco), has been coming to my house twice a week and we’ve been going over several matches and looking for areas of improvement in our team and weaknesses and tendencies in opponents. He does the same with Bruno via videoconference and I feel it’s been really productive.”
A winner of seven FIVB World Tour gold medals with four different partners, Evandro is most noted for his "rocket" serving as he has been named the top server on the international beach volleyball circuit every year since 2015.
“When Evandro serves, it’s like somebody is spiking down at you,” said three-time American Olympian Jake Gibb in a July 2019 article on NBCSports.com by Seth Rubinroit. “Whereas a normal serve has an upward trajectory.”
In Rubinroit's article, Evandro said "his serve has been clocked as fast as 63 miles per hour, but he is confident that he has served faster in practice. There’s been several times where I’ve hit someone in the chest so hard that the ball bounces back over the net, but no bruises from my serve. That just happens when I attack the ball.”
A Rio 2016 Olympic participant with Pedro Solberg, Evandro also played with Andre Loyola for a season and a third as the pair captured two gold medals highlighted by claiming the trophy at the 2017 FIVB World Championships in Vienna by defeating host country favourites Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst of Austria.
Evandro Goncalves (left) and Andre Loyola of Brazil with the 2017 FIVB World Championship trophy.
After finishing the 2018 season with Vitor Felipe, Evandro joined forces with Bruno in March 2019. The duo has competed in four semifinals in 14 World Tour starts together highlighted by a three-set gold medal win in June 2019 in Warsaw over Norway's Anders Mol/Christian Sorum, the FIVB's No. 1 ranked team.