Gstaad Major

Gstaad Major: Dutch Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen Competing For Medals Once More


Sometimes, with beach volleyball teams, or any sports teams, really, save for the Golden State Warriors, it can become easy to wonder: What happened?

It was only about a year ago that Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen were the top-ranked team on the planet. They put on a thunderous display in AVP Huntington, with Brouwer putting one crater into the ground after the next, and hitters doing their best, to little avail, to work around Meeuwsen’s block.

That win, as convincing as any you’ll find in any event — 48 teams! — was their third of the young season. Just May. Already, they had won bronze at The Hague, gold in Doha, gold in Aalsmeer, another gold in Huntington. Not once, in the entire season, would they finish outside of the top 10, putting themselves into the conversation of medal favorites come 2020.

Tides change, though, in all things. Nobody stays on top for long. Even Anders Mol and Christian Sorum have been proven mortal. The Dutch were no exception.

This year, Brouwer and Meeuwsen have three 17ths to their name, something they haven’t had in a single year since the 2015 season, their second as partners. They have yet to medal in 2019.

That, however, could change this weekend in Gstaad. After scraping out of pool play in a three-set win over Dries Koekelkoren and Tom van Wallen, 20-22, 21-13, 15-11, Brouwer and Meeuwsen have battled through Brazilians Andre Loyola and George Wanderley, Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, and Czechs Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner. The three wins, in as difficult a road as any in Gstaad, have put them into the semifinals for the first time since January, in their home tournament at The Hague.

It’s a sign that perhaps improvement is on the horizon. Success is difficult to sustain in sport, where film and strategizing can reverse momentum in a matter of a few tournaments. On Saturday, they’ll see Italians Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo. The winner will see the victor of Brazilians Evandro Goncalves and Bruno Schmidt and Mol and Sorum.

So perhaps there is no need to wonder what happened with Brouwer and Meeuwsen at all. They’re still very much the team that sprinted to the top of the world less than a year ago. And they’ve picked quite the time, and the setting, to prove it.