09.09.2019 - Rome, Italy
Laura Ludwig spent the last two years without doing one of the things she likes the most – stepping at the top of the podium of beach volleyball tournaments. The German star’s wait came to an end on Sunday, when partner Maggie Kozuch and her won the 2019 World Tour Finals at the Foro Italico, in Rome.
Laura and Maggie, who joined forces at the start of the season, after the defender’s longtime partner Kira Walkenhorst announced her retirement, had a shaky start together, but ended the year in the best possible way as they downed defending World Tour Finals champions Agatha Bednarczuk and Duda Lisboa of Brazil 21-19, 21-17 with Laura sweeping the backcourt and Maggie dominating the net.
“I love competing so much and to know it’s still possible, it means a lot to me,” Laura said after the gold medal match. “After a long break, it really feels like a comeback. Sometimes you have tough moments and you’re frustrated and you start thinking that maybe it’s not your time anymore, so I just love that we kept on fighting all season. The team around us is doing a great job but we still want to get better and more consistent.”
The title at the Italian capital just solidified Laura’s dominance at the World Tour Finals, an event she competed at four times, winning three golds medals and one silver.
To Maggie, however, it was the elusive first beach title she’d been looking for since she made the move to the beach in 2017.
“When the last ball touched the sand, I couldn’t believe it was over and we had won, it took me a few minutes to actually realize it,” the blocker explained. “This has been a tough tournament right from the beginning, we lost our first match and just battled through it. Today we showed our potential on blocking and defense, which gave us a great feeling.”
Brazil also took the bronze medal in Rome as Ana Patrícia Ramos and Rebecca Cavalcanti, who were third at the Gstaad Majors, ended their great season on high note with a 19-21, 21-18, 16-14 triumph over Swiss stars Joana Heidrich and Anouk Vergé-Dépré to complete the podium at the Italian capital.