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2016-06-24 11:51:00 CEST

Beach shift for indoor Croatian star

We talked to Croatia’s Samanta Fabris ahead of her Majors debut

Samanta Fabris is a big name in indoor volleyball in Croatia. Photocredit: FIVBSamanta Fabris is a big name in indoor volleyball in Croatia. Photocredit: FIVB

Imagine making your Swatch Major Series debut on the sand in your country’s biggest annual beach volleyball extravaganza.

Well that’s exactly what’s going to happen to 24-year-old indoor volleyball sensation Samanta Fabris when she steps out onto the sand at the Poreč Major next week.

The Croatian, who was born in Pula and lives just a few miles from the Poreč Center Court.

On Wednesday she and 20-year-old teammate Sara Radanovic will go in search of glory and attempt to wow the home crowds on the shores of the beautiful Adriatic location.

“It’s true,” she says, “I’ve never played at an FIVB World Tour stop,” Samanta tells us ahead of her first ever FIVB beach volleyball tournament. “I hope to play against the best teams, maybe Brazil, because it would be a great experience to play against them.”

Samanta first picked up a volleyball aged just 13, and she has since made her name in the indoor game where her skills have taken her to Italy where she has gained a fearsome reputation as a power hitter.

And while the world’s best may not know precisely what to expect when she takes to the court, Fabris – who represents Croatia internationally in indoor volleyball – is playing down her chances of blowing away the opposition in Poreč.

“I consider beach volleyball a completely different sport and it won’t be easy to adapt,” she admits. “I haven’t had much time to prepare because the World Grand Prix has just ended so I don’t have any real pressure.

“In the last few years in Italy I have learned a lot but I have to say again that beach volleyball is different, it also may be physically harder but I hope that I can play a good game.

“But I’ve always loved beach volleyball and during the summer, when I had free time, I was usually playing beach volleyball and I always hoped that one day I will have the chance to play it for real. I will have enough time to take it seriously. For now, it’s only fun.”

Appearing at the Poreč Major, in front of thousands of crazy Croatians certainly sounds like fun – even if it is one of the first beach tournaments she will contest in her career.

“I once played in a European University championship where I saw a few great players and experienced a good level of beach volleyball,” she says.

“But I’m very excited about playing in this tournament because it is a great opportunity to play against the best beach volleyball players in the world.”

As preparation for Poreč goes, Fabris and Radanovic will take part in a local competition in Ičići this weekend.

“That will be our first tournament as a team,” says Samanta. “We don’t think we have much chance in Poreč but we will do our best for sure.

“Sara and I didn’t prepare too much but we would be happy to play a few good games without the pressure of getting results.”

While we can’t be sure exactly how Samanta will adapt to the game @ the beach, what we do know, from past experience, is that she will be roared on by a passion Croatian crowd who are – given their football team’s performances at the European Championships – in the mood to celebrate.

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