Porec, Croatia, June 24, 2016 – Samanta Fabris may have finished the season on top of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Group 3 podium – scoring 27 points for Croatia in the process – but the she is set to swap the court for the sand at next week’s Porec Major.
The 24-year-old indoor sensation will join forces with 20-year-old teammate Sara Radanovic to have a run at glory in the beach volleyball arena on the shores of the Adriatic.
“It’s true. I’ve never played at an FIVB World Tour stop,” she told the Swatch Major Series website
ahead of her first ever tournament. “I hope to play against the best teams, maybe Brazil, because it would be a great experience to play against them.”
Fabris, who was born in Pula and lives just a few miles from the Poreč Center Court, first picked up a volleyball aged 13, and has since made a name for herself as one of the world’s most impressive opposites, most recently claiming a first Champions League with Italian club Pomi Casalmaggiore
But she 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 revealed. “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.”
It will not be the first time Fabris steps onto the sand, however. Back in 2013 she competed at the 9th European Universities Beach Volleyball Championship in Porto, Portugal for the University of Rijeka. On that occasion she played with Valentina Vrbanc – who herself played at last year’s Porec Major – finishing ninth overall.
“I once played in a European University championship where I saw a few great players and experienced a good level of beach volleyball,” she added. “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,” she said. “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.”