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2017-01-26 14:45:00 CEST

Making the Team: #FTLMajor wildcard worth a mint

Debut team Borger/Kozuch will make the most of their wildcard opportunity when they hit the beach at the Fort Lauderdale Major in two weeks’ time

Karla Borger is on her way to the beach. The German international beach volleyball player longs to jump into the sea. Practice is finished for the day and the 28-year-old speaks into the phone enthusiastically: “Every day takes us a big step forward. We have here everything we need.”

For the past month, Karla and her new partner Margareta Kozuch, 30, have been practicing together in Tenerife. On the biggest of the Canary Islands, they are preparing for the season opener, the Fort Lauderdale Major, which starts on February 7. At the end of December the duo played an invitational tournament in Milan. With a victory against Sophie van Gestel/Jolien Sinnema (2:1) from the Netherlands and a loss against Italy’s Marta Menegatti/Laura Giombini (1:2) they experienced their first competition together, but now things are about to get serious…

Maggie (left) and Karla won the bronze medal in Milan. Credit: foto Get Sport MediaMaggie (left) and Karla won the bronze medal in Milan. Credit: foto Get Sport Media

Three coaches with navigational system 

“I have no clue what level we have at the moment compared to the other teams,” Maggie says. She said goodbye to her indoor shoes when Karla asked her in the late summer to come to the beach. The German indoor national player and Champions League winner has ideal attributes for beach volleyball: she is 1.88 meters tall and extremely fast. But Maggie is also aware of the challenges she has to face.

“As player I am sometimes a little impatient with myself, I want to do everything perfect and immediately,” she says. But looking at herself from outside she knows that she has to be patient. Support comes from the new international coaching staff around her and Karla: Seba Menegozzo (Argentinia), Sixto Jimenez (Spain, also coach of Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira) and Kersten Holthausen (Germany). “They have a lot sensitivity and help me with kind of a navigational system on the court,” Maggie explains.

New coaches: Seba Menegozzo (left) and Kersten Holthausen (right) Credit: Borger/KozuchNew coaches: Seba Menegozzo (left) and Kersten Holthausen (right) Credit: Borger/Kozuch

The wildcard is worth a mint

Seba and Kersten will accompany Borger/Kozuch on their way to Fort Lauderdale next week. As Maggie has zero points on the FIVB World Tour so far, she and Karla, who finished fourth in the world ranking last season with former partner Britta Büthe, would normally have to go through the qualification process. Instead, they got a wildcard for the main draw. “That’s mega cool,” says a jubilant Karla. Maggie is relieved: “I am very thankful. This wildcard is worth a mint,” she says. “Especially at the first big tournament, it’s not easy to control your emotions. It can be over in the first match.” Now she will have a minimum of three matches and will use the first day to watch the other teams – and to absorb the atmosphere to start the pool play well.”

While in Tenerife the duo have already prepared for the conditions in Fort Lauderdale by practicing with a lot of wind. “I have never experienced conditions this windy before,” Karla says, who has experience of trainings camps in Tenerife before. For her and Maggie that’s a good thing as Fort Lauderdale is famous for its windy environment. The pair also practiced later in the afternoon, to get used to the time lag of six hours. Off court, Karla is going after her new passion to dance the tango or to go and play the saxophone. Meanwhile Maggie practices yoga and meditation. “As athletes we have a lot of tension in our bodies, that’s why I love to do some breathing exercises to bring myself into balance,” she says.

These exercises will help her with the great excitement before the first Major of the season, and Maggie will also have the support from her family. Her father will watch his daughter at her first international beach volleyball tournament. He is coming to Fort Lauderdale with his girlfriend and some friends of the family, so that Borger/Kozuch will have their own fan club in Fort Lauderdale.

Meditate. Let the light of the heart engulf you. #meditation #light #heart #love #nature #sun #grateful 🙏🏻

See this Instagram photo by @maggiekozuchofficial_ * 558 likes

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