Rebecca Cavalcanti and Talita Antunes were quick to join forces following the conclusion of the Tokyo Olympics. Their early union paid dividends as the Brazilians were very successful in their first tournaments together, but this week they’ll put their chemistry to the test at arguably the biggest challenge they’ve faced as partners so far.
Rebecca and Talita to follow successful recipe in Rosarito
After winning five medals in six events in Brazil, the veterans are ready for the qualifier in Mexico
Publicado 12:00, 19 mar. 2022
Rebecca, a Tokyo Olympian, and Talita, who competed at the Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games, are one of 16 women’s teams set to compete in the qualifier at the first Elite 16 tournament on the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour. The event will be played in Rosarito, Mexico, from March 23 to 27.
The two players arrive in Mexico full of confidence after achieving excellent results in their first events as partners on the Brazilian Tour. Since they joined forces, in September 2021, the 28-year-old Rebecca and the 39-year-old Talita have won five medals in six tournaments, with three golds, one silver and one bronze.
“It was great to have such a great start to our partnership,” Rebecca told Volleyball World. “It’s been really fun to start a new chapter with Talita. She’s a player I’ve always admired, is very calm and we’re getting along really well. We were very successful on the Brazilian Tour, but now we turn our focus to the Beach Pro Tour, which will bring a different challenge.”
In almost seven months as partners, Rebeca and Talita have played internationally once, finishing fifth at the final event on the FIVB World Tour, in Itapema, Brazil, in November. Both players are experienced and have been very successful on the international stage, but the feeling is that they are starting a new chapter in their careers on the Beach Pro Tour, which is one of their sources of motivation for the tournament in Mexico.
“It’s not only a new season, but also a new format with the Beach Pro Tour, and everyone is looking forward to it,” the defender added. “We know how important it will be for us to start well, and hopefully move up in the rankings to start the next event in the main draw. We have short and long-term goals for our team, with the biggest of them being the Paris 2024 Olympics. But we know that our journey starts now and that everything we do from now on matters.”
Rebecca and Talita are the top-seeded team in the women’s qualifier in Rosarito, a position that would give any team a fair amount of confidence entering the event. But in a qualifier that features eight Olympians and a dozen players with international medals to their names, and only four spots up for grabs, the Brazilians know they will need to bring their best to advance.
“This qualifier will look a lot different, for sure,” Talita reflected. “Anyone who has played in a qualifier knows how difficult and nervous those matches are. The key is to try to stay calm, prepare well for our opponents from a tactical standpoint and be ready and open to make any adjustments the match requires. It won’t be easy, but we know that if we stick together, we can overcome this challenge.”
Rebecca and Talita recently further strengthened their team when they became members of Brazilian club Fortaleza. The club, which has a fanbase estimated at 1.6 million people and is located in Rebecca’s hometown in the state of Ceara, will support the two players as they compete nationally and internationally.
“I always say that one of the keys to success in any area is to be surrounded by partners who can help you in your daily challenges,” Talita explained. “To have a club like Fortaleza with us is incredible, they will make us stronger as we fight for our goal of qualifying for Paris 2024.”