Fortaleza, Brazil, April 23, 2020 - After an eventful 2019-2020 season where she had a breakout campaign on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, Brazilian Rebecca Cavalcanti is enjoying her 27th birthday here Thursday at home instead of competing in an international event in China.
"I think my birthday is always a moment for me to be to thankful, even during such difficult times," said Rebecca, who teamed with Ana Patricia Silva to win three gold medals last season along with placing on nine World Tour podiums and appearing in 10 semifinals in her first full season on the international beach volleyball circuit.
"I am very thankful for everything that happened in my career over the last couple of years and everything Ana Patricia and I got to build even if our main goal, which is Tokyo, is still ahead of us," Rebecca added. "If I could wish something it would be for this pandemic to end soon and with the minimum possible damage to the world. I still have another birthday before the Olympics, so I'll save my medal wishes for it."
Rebecca and the 22-year-old Ana Patricia are currently the No. 1-ranked team on the Tokyo 2020 provisional list with 8,800 points for their best 12 finishes on the FIVB World Tour since the start of Olympic qualifying in the last four months of 2018.
Rebecca Cavalcanti (No. 2) and Ana Patricia Silva after capturing a bronze medal last September at the FIVB World Tour Finals in Rome.
In seeking the top spot in Olympic seeding, Rebecca and Ana Patricia have a 40-point edge over Americans Alix Klineman/April Ross, and a 160-point advantage over Canadians and reigning FIVB world champions Melissa Humana-Paredes/Sarah Pavan. Compatriots Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa have compiled 8,080 qualifying points provisionally putting Brazil in two of the top four seeds at Tokyo 2020.
Against Rebecca and Ana Patricia's three biggest rivals on the FIVB World Tour, the pair has a 4-7 combined international record, including 1-1 with Klineman/Ross, 1-3 with Humana-Paredes/Pavan and 2-3 with Agatha/Duda. One of the Canadians' wins over Rebecca and Ana Patricia was a three-set victory this past July at the Olympic test event in Tokyo.
As for her birthday, Rebecca said: "I wish I could have more options to celebrate my birthday, but I'll spend the day at home with my husband (Evandro) and my daughter (five-year old Isabella). We'll try to make a video conference with my family so they can sing happy birthday to me."
When asked about being home for her birthday, Rebecca said: “We spend so much time on the road that I'm already used to being away from home on my birthday. If there is one positive thing in this awful situation it is that I am getting to spend more time with my husband and my daughter. I am very worried about everything that is going on with the world now but being with them makes it a little bit better. Being more of a part of my daughter's life has been incredibly good."
As for her routine during the isolation period, Rebecca said she has “been working hard on a training programme our fitness coach, Oliveira Neto, prepared for us. It's not the same thing, but it is the best we can do now. I'm doing a lot of activities with my daughter too, such as dancing and watching movies and it's been really fun."
As for being 27, Rebecca said: "I think that maturing is more of an ongoing process that never ends. I feel that every season, every tournament I get more experience and I feel different afterwards. I think I am better and more complete now than I was before I had my daughter, her birth really accelerated things in a certain way. This year I feel more mature than last year and I hope next year it's the same because the Olympics will be right around the corner."