31.07.2019 - Vienna, Austria
Liliana Fernández and Elsa Baquerizo have been the faces of Spanish women’s beach volleyball for the last decade, but the veterans should not be alone in representing their country in World Tour top events for much longer as 20-year-old Maria Carro is quickly climbing the rankings of the sport.
The blocker, who is playing in a Beach Major Series tournament for the first time at the A1 Major Vienna, has accomplished some promising results in the last two years and seems poised for a long and successful international career like her compatriots.
“Lili and Elsa have been the top Spanish players for a while now and they still certainly are the best,” Carro said. “As a Spaniard, I’m very proud to have them representing my country and for us, younger players, the goal is to work behind them and be ready to step up and keep doing what they’ve been doing when they’re done playing.”
The young blocker, however, mirrors another long-lasting Spanish team, the one of Pablo Herrera and Adrián Gavira, in her quest for success. That’s because the veterans share the same practice facility with them, the Spanish training center in Lorca.
“They are role models for all of us training in Lorca,” the blocker reflected. “They are references for us and it’s very helpful to have them around and learn from them and their experiences.”
Carro has enjoyed unprecedented youth success for a Spanish female player as she won a bronze medal at this year’s Under-21 World Championships with Daniela Alvarez and secured third-place finishes in back-to-back editions of the Under-22 European Championships.
Her results are slowly transitioning to the professional level, too, as the blocker has won a pair of silver medals in one-star World Tour events in the Philippines and Thailand in 2018 besides of also finishing second at last year’s World University Championships with Paula Soria, her partner at the Vienna Major.
“I’ve been learning day after day,” she said. “My mentality as a player is to never get too comfortable with what I have and to always fight for more. My career has been going pretty well so far, but I know I still have a long way to go and I’ll work hard for it.”
The 20-year-old blocker, however, has one very meaningful difference to her compatriots – her size. Standing at 1.90m, she’s the tallest female Spanish player to ever compete in the World Tour.
“My height is certainly an advantage and try to use it at my best at the net,” she added. “Spanish players haven’t traditionally been among the tallest in the World Tour, but there are two younger girls who are pretty much as tall as I am training with us. Every centimeter helps.”
After winning a pair of qualifying matches in Vienna, Carro and Soria couldn’t handle Brazilians Rebecca Cavalcanti and Ana Patricia Ramos in their main draw debut at the Danube Island, but these are exactly the types of matches the Spanish are looking for.
“I’m very excited to be playing in the main draw of my first Major,” Carro explained. “It was a tough battle in qualification to get here and I’m sure it will be a great experience. We played really well in the first set against the Brazilians but couldn’t keep the same level on the second. To me, it’s about learning. Winning or losing I know I’ll have a lot to take from this tournament and I want to learn as much as I can this week.”