Beach volleyball partnerships can work in a variety of different ways, but if people around the FIVB World Tour were asked what an ideal union should include, it’s likely several of them would point out to Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira.
The Spanish have been partners since 2009 and have easily the longest-lasting partnership among men's teams competing internationally right now. More notable than the fact that they still manage to stick together after so long is the strong and peaceful relationship they’ve developed on and off the courts.
Even in the most difficult moments of their partnership, the two have never been seen having a heated discussion on the court. On top of that, they’re really good friends and have even been making some financial investments together.
“The most important thing is that we respect each other as partners and friends,” Herrera said. “There has never been a doubt that both of us give absolutely everything we have for our team and it’s very clear for us that one is not more important than the other. We’re very honest with each other and we know that anything one says to the other is with the only goal of making the team better. Of course we think differently in certain situations, but we always talk and figure things out in a nice way.”
The oldest of the two, the 38-year-old Herrera started influencing the 33-year-old Gavira a lot earlier than he could have imagined, as it was after watching his future partner and Javier Bosma winning the silver medal at the Athens 2004 Olympics that Gavira, only 16 at the time, decided he wanted to pursue a beach volleyball career.
“I used to watch the Olympics growing up but it wasn’t until Athens that I got to watch beach volleyball,” Gavira explained. “I saw Pablo and Javi doing great things and playing in the final and I thought that I really wanted to be there doing the same one day. What I couldn’t imagine is that a few years later I would be right there with one of them.”
Between 2009, when they first joined forces, and 2021, the Spanish have been partners in 13 international seasons and have gone through the ups and downs every team does. They have appeared in two Olympics, finishing ninth at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games, among the 119 international tournaments they have played together, the fourth-most for men’s teams.
But if you think the Tokyo Games could be the final stop for Herrera and Gavira as a team, that might just not be the case.
“We’re both veterans at this point of our careers, so it’s not easy to make long-term plans anymore,” Gavira added. “Right now we’re focusing on Tokyo and when the Games are over we’ll sit, talk and see what’s better. But I can guarantee that neither of us rules out the possibility of remaining together for some more time. We still want it just as much as we did when we first played together.”
Herrera and Gavira are currently competing at the third World Tour event in the Cancun Hub and all matches are streamed live on the Beach Volleyball World Youtube channel. Subscribe, log in and set reminders to receive notifications when streams begin.
Cancun Hub - 3rd event
Cancun Hub - 3rd event - Match schedule
Provisional Olympic ranking - Men
Provisional Olympic ranking - Women
FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour