Dries Koekelkoren is nearing his best form at the Mersin 3-Star
Mersin, Turkey, May 4, 2018 – Tom van Walle and Dries Koekelkoren are looking forward to hitting their best form now that the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is heading into its northern hemisphere summer season.
The Belgian pair are currently playing in the Mersin 3-Star tournament and they enjoyed a successful opening day of pool play with two wins from two that put them straight into the second knockout round that begins on Saturday.
However, they feel that their form has slipped since the end of 2017 though the upcoming run of World Tour events, that continues with the Lucerne 3-Star tournament next week, gives them the chance to build some momentum.
“It is hard when there are a few weeks in between,” van Walle said. “You feel like you are building rhythm and then you have to stop, but now the circus is going from one place to another and the matches follow each other fast and the tournaments follow each other fast.
“It is heavy mentally if you don’t play well, but it goes both ways and if you’re playing well we can hope that it is the start of something positive.”
Last year van Walle and Koekelkoren teamed up with Dutch coach Michiel Van der Kuip and it paid dividends. The pair reached their first World Tour semifinals at the Qinzhou 3-Star tournament, and also finished fourth at the CEV European Championships. They reached the Olsztyn 4-Star quarterfinals and made it through the pool stages at the Austria 2017, FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships.
This season they haven’t enjoyed the same results, with a second knockout round finish at the Dela Beach Open in The Hague their best result so far.
“It is almost the start of our second season together,” van Walle said. “It is still going well, but our level is not as high as when we finished the season last year, so we are working hard to get that back.
“We are a good team, but we make mistakes in our game and if we make mistakes you have to fight to get those points back, especially against top teams who make less mistakes than you. Then you lose the games and that is what is happening this season. Some games we feel like we are playing well - as well as the other teams, but because we make mistakes we lose those games.”
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