SCHUMANN AND COURT READY FOR THE INTERNATIONALS
Having proved themselves the best men’s team of the Australian summer, beach volleyballers Damien Schumann and Joshua Court say they are ready to test themselves against the best from Asia and the rest of the world.
Schumann and Court completed a clean sweep of the Australian beach tour on the weekend, beating Olympic rivals Bo Soderberg and Casey Grice 21-17 21-18 at the two-day NSW Open on Sydney's Manly Beach, to add to the SA, Queensland, WA and Victorian Opens.
The Olympic hopefuls also won the Australian Championships at Surfers Paradise, and will start favourites to win the Australian tour final back at Manly Beach next month.
“It’s crazy, we never would have believed it at the start of the season,” Schumann said.
“But what it also means is that we are showing signs that we are steadily improving. I think good national tour form definitely helps when it comes to overseas.”
While Isaac Kapa and Chris McHugh have been the main Australian team on the world tour, the form of Schumann and Court will make the battle for possible Olympic selection tight when the Asian qualifiers are contested in June.
But Schumann is only too aware how big the step up is from the Australian tour to the best international competitions.
“If you are playing well against the fellow Australian teams it’s a good thing,” Schumann said.
“But make no mistake, being successful on the Asian and World Tour is a massive step up for sure.
“There’s still lots we need to work on, but our Australian tour has shown us we are heading in the right direction.”
Also pleasing for Court and Schumann was they won titles over the summer in the full range of weather conditions, a further sign of their improvement and confidence.
Sunday's final was won in rain, Adelaide was won in scorching heat.
“I think when we were a lot younger you prefer certain conditions, but as our overall game is becoming more consistent it’s easier to adapt and adjust,” Schumann said.
“You just have to back yourself in any conditions.”
In the women’s competition, Manly locals Alice and Johannah Rohkamper posted an impressive win over the European combination of Michaela Vorlova and Lucia Michalovicova, who have also called Manly Beach home over the Australian summer.
While much of the attention on the weekend was on the seniors, the next generation of Australian beach volleyballers was on display with a well-attended junior competition on the Sunday.
Many of the juniors also got a chance to compete in the senior competition, a great development opportunity for the stars of the future.