Beach Pro Tour 2022 - News

It’s monsooning in Thailand. This isn't all that unusual. Southern Thailand amasses, on average, 94 inches of rain per year. Not that Sophie Bukovec would, or should, know this. She’s 16 years old, playing in the first - and potentially last - FIVB of her career.

The rain in fact reaches such a volume that, in the middle of her first round qualifier match, against Norway’s Vilde Solvoll and Cindy Treland, the organizers have to move the match to a different court.

“The courts were flooded,” Bukovec recalled on SANDCAST. “It was wild. I couldn’t see [Victoria Altomare, her partner]. That’s how much it was raining.”

They lose, 21-19, 14-21, 10-15. And then they lose again, in the most heartbreaking of fashions, as the organizer, awarding a pair of lucky losers, pulls two teams out of a hat that do not read the names of Bukovec and Altomare. And so there 16-year-old Sophie Bukovec sits, crestfallen and defeated, sopping wet on the southern tip of Thailand, wondering what anyone in that moment might wonder: “Is this what it’s like? Because I don’t know if I can do this. This is wild.’

“So,” she says, 10 years later, “fly to Thailand, lose, and see if you want to do it.”