Vergé-Dépré and Heidrich looking forward to Fort Lauderdale Major


Anouk Vergé-Dépré (left) and Joana Heidrich during their first World Tour appearance as a team, at the 2017 Fort Lauderdale Major

Lausanne, Switzerland, February 19, 2018 – For Switzerland’s top women’s pair Joana Heidrich and Anouk Vergé-Dépré, the 2018 international beach volleyball season starts next week at the Fort Lauderdale Major. As the two Rio Olympians prepare for their first event on the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, they are already thinking about Tokyo 2020 and participating as a team.

“We want to go to Tokyo. That sure is our dream as a team,” Joana Heidrich said in an interview with “We still have to work a lot for that. The 2017 season was a good start for us, but we need to keep learning. We are young and we can still improve a lot.”

Joana Heidrich showing emotion during the 2017 Fort Lauderdale Major

2017 was the debut season for Heidrich and Vergé-Dépré as a duo. They had both reached the top of the podium on the World Tour, triumphed as under-age world champions and played at Rio 2016 with different partners. The two rising Swiss stars teamed up, ambitious to do even better as a pair.

“When the season started we were not sure about what we could do because Anouk was playing defence for the first time and that was a big change for her,” Heidrich added. “I think she did a great job, I never thought she could do so well in the first year. She also had to change sides to play on the left and that required some adjustments.”

The 2017 Fort Lauderdale stop was the first World Tour event for the newly-formed team. They finished 17th. But it took Anouk Vergé-Dépré less time to adapt to her new role on the court than expected. About four months later, at their third appearance on the Tour, Heidrich and Vergé-Dépré claimed their first medal as a pair – silver at the Hague 3-star tournament. They followed up with stable performances through the rest of the year and finished 2017 as the eighth-placed team in the world ranking.

Anouk Vergé-Dépré and Joana Heidrich are ready for the Fort Lauderdale Major

“At first I was really lost,” Vergé-Dépré said. “I got more experience from each game and also learned a lot from our coaches. The way you make decisions in defence is completely different from when you are blocking, but I am having fun in the back. We had a really nice first season together. We did not expect it would come out like that. We were dangerous against every team and this is a really good feedback for us. But we still have a lot to improve and that is really motivating because if we are at this level now, we can be a lot better. I really work hard for this and I hope to improve step by step. I want to keep progressing with every match and I am looking forward to see what is possible to achieve.”

It sounds like the two 26-year-old athletes are in it for the long run, looking to improve further and further as a team as they move forward towards their Tokyo 2020 dream. Once again, they will be starting their season at the five-star Fort Lauderdale Major, which will take place from February 27 through March 4 in the United States, hoping to improve on their maiden tournament as a team a year ago.