Vít Mařík, who is in charge of beach volleyball at the association, met Perušič and Schweiner at the club in Strahov when they were timid youngsters. “In 2016, two guys came, their eyes were downcast, but they were extremely determined, which they proved when they flew from tournament to tournament and even slept on benches at the airport,” says Mařík.
In the same year, Italian Andrea Tomatis, who was just at the beginning of his coaching career, received an offer from former volleyball player and current player manager Martin Lébl. “When Martin asked me, I was still a bit in shape and wondering if I would rather play,” the now 45-year-old coach smiled.
“The guys were unknown internationally, I didn’t even know them. But after seven years I can say that it was a good choice to start coaching,” the coach of the reigning world champions is clear. He was also teased by the ward members during the celebrations. “We jokingly told him that it wasn’t bad for his first foreign assignment,” joked Perušič.
Tomatis answered with a serious face that the gold is great, but in his eyes, Perušič and Schweiner did not play their best tournament and there is still room for improvement.
“We can improve, for example, in reactions to different situations, because at the top level it is often crucial how you decide, we can study the opponent even better,” calculates Tomatis.
In addition, his charges will find themselves in a completely new role as reigning world champions. “We are no longer outsiders like three years ago, everyone knows what potential we have. It won’t be an easy position, but already in Mexico, the boys showed how mentally strong they are when they recovered from two defeats in the group,” reminds the coach of the rocky road to the world gold.
A lot of work awaits him and fitness trainer Valerio Vaccaro, physiotherapist Eliška Čermáková, data analyst Jaroslav Bartoš can still improve his already praised system…
But the main hard work will be on the players. Although they secured a start at the Olympic Games with the Mexican triumph, that does not mean that they could now train in seclusion and adjust their form for the battles under the Eiffel Tower.
“We can rest a bit, but we want to have the best possible performance and be in the elite four,” planned Tomatis. Then his team would avoid, for example, the Norwegian defenders Mol and Sorum or the Swedes Ahman and Hellvig in the group.
“The result from the World Cup will help us to be in a good position for the following season, because we were a little worried that the short break would not be due to injury or increased fatigue. Now we have more peace, but we still have to play a lot of tournaments,” says Perušič.
The closest one will come at the end of November in Brazil, and the final tournament of the World Series in Qatar should also await them this year.