Roma, Italy, September 8, 2019 – Laura Ludwig picked just the perfect occasion to tell the world she’s back. After all, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals have been her territory since the first edition, in 2015.
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After winning gold medals in Toronto in 2016 and Hamburg 2017 and a silver at the inaugural edition in Fort Lauderdale with former partner Kira Walkenhorst, the German ended the 2019 season at the top of the podium again, this time with Margareta Kozuch, as the duo won the tournament at the Foro Italico, in Rome, with a sound victory over Brazilians Agatha Bednarczuk and Duda Lisboa.
“I actually thought about it during the week, that I had a chance to win the Finals again,” she revealed. “But I had to push it away because I didn’t want it taking my control and my focus. Right now, I’m just unbelievably proud of what we did.”
And she most certainly should feel that way.
At the age of 33, the defender took the 2018 season off to give birth to her first son, Teo, and left the scene as the reigning Olympic and world champion. When she was about to come back, Ludwig got the news that Walkenhorst wouldn’t be by her side for the next chapter of her journey as she had to retire due to multiple injuries.
Left without a partner and returning after more than one year out, the veteran had to make a decision about who she wanted to have by her side and she went with Kozuch, an indoor star who was still transitioning to the sand.
Ludwig and Kozuch pose with the World Tour Finals trophy at the Foro Italico
After a tough start, the team powered through an opening match setback to fellow Germans Julia Sude and Karla Borger to win six straight matches on their way to the top of the podium in Rome.
“Every victory is special in its own way,” Ludwig added. “This one, after a long break, it really feels like a comeback. And to be with Maggie for the first time in a big final and see her playing the way she did and trusting what we are doing, it’s unbelievable. She’s getting calmer on the court and it’s definitely great that she managed to do it in such an important match.”
The World Tour Finals were a happy end to an unusually inconsistent season for Ludwig, who has won 12 FIVB gold medals since the start of her career and if anyone had any doubts, they are probably over now – Laura Ludwig is back!
“I love competing so much and to know it’s still possible, it means a lot to me,” the German star remarked. “Sometimes you have tough moments and you’re frustrated and you start thinking that maybe it’s not your time anymore, so I just love that we kept on fighting all season. The team around us is doing a great job but we still want to get better and more consistent.”