Comprised of five events that will take place between this week and December, the 2021 season of the Brazilian Beach Volleyball Tour will be seen as a restart moment for several players in the country who have switched partners following the Tokyo Olympics.

One of the most talented defenders in Brazil, 28-year-old Gustavo ‘Guto’ Carvalhaes didn’t compete at the Games, but he was impacted by the wave of changes that hit the country too and landed arguably the most coveted player in the nation in Rio 2016 Olympic champion Alison Cerutti.

The team was announced just three weeks before the first event on the Brazilian Tour, which will take place from Wednesday to Sunday in Rio de Janeiro. Despite the short time during which they have had to prepare, the team are excited to make their debut.

“We’re happy about what we accomplished in these first weeks,” Guto told Volleyball World. “It’s just the beginning and there’s obviously a lot ahead of us, but we’re excited. In any tournament we enter, the goal is to win, but the most important thing for us now is to improve. We’re still figuring out the best way for us to work as a team, and that will only come with playing time.”

Other notable teams making their debuts in the event are Evandro Goncalves/Alvaro Filho and Adrielson Santos/Arthur Mariano on the men’s side, as well as the women’s duo of Rebecca Cavalcanti/Talita Antunes.

Rebecca’s former partner Ana Patricia Ramos will play temporarily with Maria Elisa Antonelli while other familiar teams remain together, such as Agatha Bednarczuk/Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa, Carolina Salgado/Barbara Seixas and men's two-time defending champions, Andre Loyola and George Wanderley.

Before partnering with Alison, Guto had a number of teammates in international beach volleyball, most notably Athens 2004 Olympic champion Ricardo Santos, Allison Cittadin, with who he won the 2013 FIVB U21 World Championship, and Saymon Barbosa and Pedro Solberg, who were by his side in his two victories on the FIVB World Tour.

“It’s been a long road for me to get here and I’m happy to be where I am,” he reflected. “I’ve been fortunate to have had partners who were really important in my career and I’ve learned from each of them, from legends like Ricardo (Santos) to Arthur (Mariano), my last partner, who was younger. Being with a partner as victorious as Alison is very exciting and I feel like our team has the ability to cut some corners in the process. Right now we’re still finding our strengths and weaknesses as a team and that’s exciting.”

Alison is fresh from his third Olympic appearance in Tokyo

Alison is fresh from his third Olympic appearance in Tokyo

Landing Alison as a partner, Guto expects, will bring him closer to fulfilling his dream of competing at the Paris 2024 Olympics, which would be the first of his career. The new partnership seems to have re-ignited ‘The Mammoth’, who after his third Olympic appearance in Tokyo indicated he would reevaluate the next steps of his career.

“He’s been really happy in practice,” Guto said about his partner. “It’s very clear he loves to play beach volleyball. Paris is our dream, but is still three years away, so we need to focus on the present for now. It’s time to focus on the daily battles and on each step of the way and hopefully we’ll get where we want.”

The third-highest ranked team in the tournament, Alison and Guto will debut on Thursday, the first day of the main draw in Rio. The medal matches for both genders will be played on Sunday.