Swiss duo Heidrich and Vergé-Dépré on their beginnings and proudest moment

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 23, 2020 – 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Moscow 4-star winners Anouk Vergé-Dépré and Joana Heidrich had an opportunity to ask each other questions and share their great and light moments in beach volleyball in a Facebook Live session on June 18.

Watch the Swiss duo speak below.

Their humble beginnings and their first encounter
Anouk and Joana, both 28, met over 15 years ago on the Swiss Junior Beach Volleyball Tour. Before this meeting, both played for their respective hometown volleyball teams.

Anouk on how she started playing volleyball:
“I was very young when I was introduced to volleyball because of my dad who was coaching at that time. I was a ball girl and I would play with my friends on the street, but I started playing volleyball when I was 10 or 11.”

Joana on how she started playing volleyball:
“It was my neighbour who saw me playing with my friends when I was a kid. She saw that I was tall and moving well for my height, so she told me to play volleyball. I was 13 then.”

Anouk on meeting Joana for the first time:
“I think it was in the Junior Beach Tour in Switzerland more than 15 years ago. My first impression of you is that you were a lot taller than me and you had wide shoulders. I was pretty good at that time. I think we played each other in that tournament.”

Joana on her first recollection of meeting Anouk in a volleyball tournament:
“I remember we saw each other in indoor for the first time. You were playing for Basel, while I was playing for Schaffhausen.”

The sacrifices and changes in their careers
Anouk and Joana talked about their life as beach volleyball players and making sacrifices to become successful.

Anouk on her biggest sacrifice to get to where she is right now:
“The hardest thing for me is to miss time with my friends and family. As an athlete, you have to go to training camps and miss your home. The biggest sacrifice is that you always have to follow a plan and not be able to be spontaneous, like when you want to go on vacations and do other things.”

Joana on the changes in the past 10 years:
“You learn a lot in 10 years. My personality has changed a lot. Ten years ago, I was just a beast on the court, but now I have changed and I have become better.”

Their proudest memory
Since teaming up in 2017, the Swiss ladies have won a gold medal at the Moscow 4-star, silver medals at The Hague 3-star and Itapema 4-star. They have also made it to the final four of the 5-star event in Gstaad and the World Tour Finals in Rome in 2019, which Anouk thinks was a great comeback after a rough start.

“I’m proud of last year because of the rough beginning – coming from an injury and not having the results we wanted. We doubted ourselves but we still fought to do better. The turning point was at Gstaad, we kept believing in our team and fought for a better result. We just believed in our capacity to play a good game. For sure Moscow was our big comeback and our proudest result as a team because we just trusted the process of coming back from a hard year.”

Giving and receiving advice
Anouk gave some tips on being a good defender, while Joana talked about the best advice she got from her brother Adrian, who also won a gold medal last year at the 3-star event in Qinzhou, China.

Anouk on how to be a good defender:
“I was a blocker for a long time so I’m still learning to play as a defender. As a defender you have to decide whether you have to cover or not because that will depend on who you are playing against. It helps to have a forward position and to be always ready so that you can move faster to get the ball, rather than just waiting at the back and not be able to move.”

Joana on her brother Adrian’s best advice to her:
“My brother has always been more relaxed than me on the court. We are very different when we play. He might be very calm, but he also puts up a good fight on the court. I would be the fiery one, but he told me to be more relaxed on the court and it helped me a lot too.”

Switching places with a male beach volleyball player
Anouk chose Olympic and former world champion Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil to switch places with because of his experience.

“When I think about beach volleyball and playing in big tournaments, I think about Bruno Schmidt. I would like to switch places with him because he has great ball control and defence. His touch and his decision in making his shots are great. I would like to see just for one day how he sees beach volleyball – how he sees the game and his mentality. He has won a lot of medals and he has a lot of experience, so there’s a lot to learn from him.”

Anouk’s other talent
Anouk is not only a talented beach volleyball player, she also dances the salsa.

“My father is from Guadeloupe and we danced a lot as kids. I liked to dance but I didn’t start with salsa. I took a course when I was 12 or 13 and there were not enough boys in the class so I had to lead in the salsa dancing. That’s how I learned and understood the dance better. I danced that for three years but haven't had time for it since playing volleyball. However, I did it when I was on vacation, I even made some videos of myself dancing the salsa. I even went to Cuba for a course. It’s a passion and I love it. Maybe I will teach Joana and then maybe we can do a live class for everyone.”

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