2018-08-05 19:10:00 CET
The Polish blocker celebrated his first final appearance in Vienna
The A1 Major Vienna presented by Swatch didn’t end exactly the way Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek and Michal Bryl hoped for, as they were taken down by Norway’s Anders Mol and Christian Sørum in the final at the Red Bull Beach Arena. However, the silver medal won was a lot more than just a consolation prize for the Polish.
Bryl and Fijalek joined forces in 2017 and after an inconsistent first season, the team has achieves its most important result at the Danube Island, where they played in their first gold medal match together.
If Fijalek in a World Tour veteran with 11 medals under his belt – one gold, five silver and five bronze -, Bryl just experienced his first time in a final in Vienna. The 23-year-old blocker, who’s an Under-19 and Under-21 world champion, was no short in words to describe his experience in the Austrian capital.
“It was the best tournament of my life,” he commented. “I’m very proud of myself, my partner and our staff. We’ve been working together for the last two years and month after month we became a better team. And we just played in our first final, so I couldn’t be happier.”
The Polish blocker, indeed, seems to have some sort of special connection with Austria as he also played his first World Tour semifinal in the country, when pairing with Bartosz Losiak he finished fourth in Klagenfurt in 2016.
“I was a lot younger at the time,” he recalled. “The stress before the semifinal and the bronze medal match killed me in that tournament. And now it was different, just by having Fijalek by my side I felt good. Tournaments in Austria have been good for me, so hopefully next year I can take gold.”
If the setback in the final left Bryl without the elusive gold medal, it reinforced his confidence that it’s time for the new generation to take over. At 23, the Polish is used to playing the Beach Volley Viking in under-age tournaments and he just hopes these matchups get more constant in other finals.
“They were really good and had a great strategy,” Bryl analyzed. “We tried different things but it wasn’t enough. I hope we can beat them in the future in another final. I’ve played them a lot in youth and junior tournaments and I feel proud because they are showing it’s time for our generation to shine. We want to kick the older players out of the top.”