2016-07-26 13:15:00 CEST
Klagenfurt is special whether it’s your first or 14th tournament
“It’s the 14th time for me here but every time feels like the first time,” a visibly enthusiastic Babsi Hansel told us after she and partner Steffi Schwaiger completed their first warm up on Klagenfurt sand this year.
It will also be her last after she revealed she will retire from beach volleyball after this week's A1 Major Klagenfurt.
“I dreamed of playing here but I don’t think you can physically dream how it is once you’ve played here because of how unique it is,” Hansel continues. “When I first saw the tournament I wanted to play on Center Court.
“It’s still unbelievable when you’re here and there are so many people cheering for you. It’s special to have this possibility in Austria.”
While teammate Steffi tasted success in front of the adoring Austrian crowd when winning European Championship gold in 2013 with sister Doris, Babsi is aiming to better the fourth place-finish she achieved two years running in Klagenfurt in 2009 and 2010 with Sara Montagnolli.
“To win a medal would be amazing,” she said. “I had two semifinals here and it was great but lost out on bronze on both occasions.
“Obviously winning a tournament would be really, really good and this year we’ll be trying hard to play through until the Saturday.”
And you can bet your bottom dollar that the Hansel and Schwaiger will be urged on by a capacity Klagenfurt crowd when the main draw gets under way on Wednesday.
“We’re really excited knowing so many people are behind you,” says Hansel. “It puts a little bit of pressure on you but the support really pushes you on.”