Reckermann and Rogers review - Part I

 

Germany's Jonas Reckermann (left) and USA's Todd Rogers in the air

Lausanne, Switzerland, April 25, 2015 - Olympic and world champions Todd Rogers and Jonas Reckermann may be on different sides of the court - American Rogers is still playing on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour and finished fourth with Stafford Slick in the 2015 opening event in Fuzhou on Saturday while Germany's Reckermann is now behind the microphone as a commentator after retiring in 2013 - but they still have a lot in common.

The "R&R Boys" are both beach volleyball giants - both have claimed Olympic and World Championship gold medals with compatriots Julius Brink (Reckermann) and Phil Dalhausser (Rogers). In the past three decades of competition in the sport, only Brazilians Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos and Sandra Pires/Jackie Silva, and Americans Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh Jennings can make the same claim. Their words will carry a lot of weight when the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships The Netherlands 2015 begin on June 26.

In this article, we speak to Reckermann, who retired after the London 2012 Olympic Games and 11 seasons on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. Rogers is taking on his 21st season in beach volleyball and partnered Stafford Slick at this week's FIVB Beach Volleyball Fuzhou Open. We will speak to the American in an article to be published next week.

Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann celebrate winning gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games
Julius Brink and Jonas Reckermann (right) celebrate winning gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games

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Jonas Reckermann - Quick facts

• The two-time Olympian won a London 2012 gold medal with Julius Brink
• He was a Stavanger 2009 FIVB world champion with Brink
• A seven-time FIVB World Tour gold medal winner, including two with Marcus Dieckmann and five with Brink
• He competed in 104 FIVB World Tour events with four different partners and compiled a 398-176 match mark (69.3 winning percentage, including 77.9 percent with Brink)
• He advanced to 44 FIVB World Tour final fours
• He netted 36 FIVB World Tour podium placements, including 7 gold, 18 silver and 11 bronze medals
• He was a 2009 FIVB World Tour champion with Brink
• He was the 2009 FIVB World Tour best blocker
• He teamed with Brink to win a then-record 25-straight FIVB World Tour matches in 2009
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Reckermann now works as a beach volleyball consultant and co-commentator for Sky TV and is an ambassador for Smart cars and Camp David clothes.

"I have a company together with a friend that organises training camps (mainly soccer) and sport incentives," Reckermann said. "I also deliver lectures at company events and I have started working with Julius on a new project where we visit German athletes on their way to Rio 2016. We are trying their disciplines and asking all sorts of questions. It makes for a lot of fun!"

What are your thoughts on the men's pools?  Which is the toughest?
Reckermann: "The pools look well balanced with two "big" teams in every group. Pools E and G look the most interesting to me. Pool E has the defending champions [Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands] challenged by the Italian Olympians [Daniel Lupo and Paolo Nicolai]. Pool G is the "veteran group" [Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos of Brazil and Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera of Spain] with great and experienced players!"

Which teams will make it to the final four?
Reckermann: "That is a tough question. I could earn a lot of money if I knew the answer!  Let´s give it a try - Phil Dalhausser/Sean Rosenthal (United States, Pool B), Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel (Poland, Pool D), Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera (Spain, Pool G) and Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt (Brazil, Pool C)."

Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijalek
Reckermann believes Mariusz Prudel and Grzegorz Fijalek could win the men's event at the World Championships in the Netherlands

If you were a betting man, what team would you say will win the World Championships?
Reckermann: "I like the Polish pair of Fijalek and Prudel. They have a lot of experience together and had a very successful season last year. The Poles are not the biggest or strongest team on the World Tour, but they play well together."

Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen were the surprise winners in 2013.

Do you think there could be surprise winners in 2015?

Reckermann: "I don´t know if betting on Reinder Nummerdor (playing with Dutch partner Christiaan Varenhorst as the top-seeded team in Pool A) counts, but I like the idea of having a home team in the finals. He is a fantastic and experienced player and has a great partner!"

Speaking of the Dutch team, did you have a feeling in 2013 prior to the Stare Jablonki World Championships that Brouwer and Meeuwsen could win the title?
Reckermann: "To be honest - no! The Dutch had (and have) great skills, but were not very consistent. They impressed me by performing at a consistently high level during that competition!"

What do you think about the preliminary rounds being played at four different sites in the Netherlands?
Reckermann: "On the one hand, it is a great idea. On the other hand, it will not be easy for national federations that have more than two teams in the competition. For those federations, there will be complications linked to travel, lodging and staffing (coaches, physios, doctors and other personnel) to provide their teams with the best support. For the nations with small budgets, it will be tough to organise a high quality setup."

What are your thoughts on the "senior" citizens in the competition - John Hyden, Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos?
Reckermann: "What they do is an inspiration and shows that there is more to our sport than jumping and hitting."

Do you think Emanuel and Ricardo can duplicate their previous success together on the FIVB World Tour?
Reckermann: "Well, that is a tough question. They are experienced and are still able to play at a very high level. But Europe have closed the gap with Brazil and the United States, so it will be tough for them to dominate the Tour again. I expect them to be in the top 10, but not in the top three of the world - let´s see if they surprise me again."

Any other comments? Will you be in the Netherlands for the World Championships?
Reckermann: "I am looking forward to the World Championships and will definitely be at some of the matches in the second half of the event, when the elimination rounds start. It is just a three-hour drive from my home and I will be checking to see if my predictions come true."