Brazilian Evandro Goncalves has a lot on his mind these days as he competed Thursday with his World Championship partner Andre Loyola in the Fort Lauderdale Major against Americans Taylor Crabb and Jake Gibb
Fort Lauderdale, USA, March 1, 2018 - Two weeks ago, Evandro Goncalves had more on his mind than being a beach volleyball world champion, let alone playing in Brazil’s national tour in Joao Pessoa.
This week in the Fort Lauderdale Major, Evandro said he’s still split on playing in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour’s first Major Series tournament.
But when Mom speaks, Evandro answers. He and partner Andre Loyola did indeed play in Joao Pessoa and not only won, they swept Olympic gold medallists Bruno Oscar Schmidt and Alison Cerutti in the championship match.
All the while, Evandro’s mother, was undergoing treatment for a tumour in her head.
“She told me to go to play and it was good because we went to Joao Pessoa and we won, and my team was awesome giving me support and everything,” Evandro said Wednesday. “I just hope the same happens again as she asked me to come here and win and I’ll try to do that.
“It was really intense because I actually wanted to be with her during that time and it was cool that I went there and won and gave her some happy moments from that.”
Despite a 2-0 (21-16, 21-17) defeat to Americans Jake Gibb and Taylor Crabb, the Brazilians continue their quest in South Florida on Thursday. They open the knockout phase of the tournament in the round of 24.
And with his resolve, it’s easy to see the inner strength of a 27-year-old who came of age in Vienna last summer when he and Andre captured the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship.
“But even here, my head is 50 percent here and 50 percent there,” Evandro said. “Hopefully I can get back home and make her happy again.
“She’s getting a lot better, she’s supposed to get to her room soon. Thank God that’s happening and hopefully when I get home, I can see her at home already.”
This is only the 10th tournament the duo have participated in and they’ve reached the medals podium three times and also took home a fourth place on the FIVB World Tour.
Now they are the defending world champions, they’re trying to treat the Tour in the same manner, but they know the target they present is a little bigger.
“For us being the world champions, everybody wants to beat us and give something more to beat us and that’s what happened today,” Evandro said. “Jake Gibb did a great job in blocking and that made the difference for them.”