2016-07-27 10:45:00 CEST
Can the veteran of Klagenfurt finally land a medal on home sand?
Clemens Doppler is praying that lady luck shines down on him this week as he goes in search of an elusive first medal on Austrian sand at the A1 Major Klagenfurt.
The 35-year-old has finished fifth five times in Klagenfurt and, incredibly, on four occasions he and his partner have exited the tournament to the eventual gold medalists!
“More or less every time I finish fifth, I lose in the quarterfinals to the eventual champion,” Clemens told us in an exclusive interview. “So there’s been a bit of bad luck, too – but to win a medal you’ve got to win these kind of games.
“This year first and foremost we want to win the pool because in recent tournaments we have made life difficult for ourselves with a tougher draw. We need to test ourselves before the Olympics and go to Brazil with good vibes in our head.”
This week will be the experienced Doppler’s 17th appearance on the shores of the Wörthersee and he admits that it’s a tournament he will never tire of.
“I have always loved Klagenfurt,” he says. “I came when I was a little kid with my parents on vacation and I will continue to come here after I’ve finished playing beach volleyball. I’ll never get bored of playing here – it’s the nicest place on earth to play.”
Together with teammate Alex Horst, Doppler will be backed by thousands of bustling beach fans on Center Court this week and the veteran blocker knows the importance of having that support on court.
“I think you could see what it meant to have a third man behind us in Poreč,” explains Clemens. “There have been certain games and certain situations in the past where we were behind and the crowd have helped us turn it around.
“It’s very important to us and in Klagenfurt we have been lucky to have this support. They never give up on us – and we don’t give up on them.
“It’s this kind of relationship with the crowd that is very special.”