Giulia Rastelli, triple Grand Slam champion in 2022, will return to the UK this weekend for her first event of the 2023 season, as she joins the country's top teams for the Weymouth Grand Slam.
Alongside Masha Sviridova, Rastelli achieved massive success on the UK Beach Tour last year, winning back-to-back Grand Slams in London and Bournemouth, with the later crowning the team as national champions. However, it continues to be Weymouth that holds found memories for the former Italian Serie-A player.
"Weymouth was the first 'big' tournament I played when I moved to the UK in 2019,' recalls Rastelli. "I was so surprised (in a good way) to see how incredible this tournament was: from the organisation, to the crowd, the whole vibe, and the level of players! I even got MVP so it was something I couldn’t forget! I only played two editions of Weymouth due to the pandemic, but it is the one tournament I don’t wanna miss!!"
The last time Rastelli took to the sand in Weymouth was in 2021, where she achieved a 4th place finish alongside long-term team mate Aga Adamek-Peiro; falling short of the podium seemed to spur her on into the 2022 season, with Rastelli winning 5 back-to-back UKBT gold medals! But winning Weymouth is one of the only accolades that still evades last year's tour champion.
"I still need to win a Weymouth. So this year I wanna try to do that! The level is really high and I am very excited to play against some old friends and also new names! There are a lot of new players I haven’t met yet, so I think they will be my main question mark."
Rastelli will definitely be familiar with some her opposition this weekend; Lynne Beattie and Mel Coutts, last year's Weymouth Champions, will be in attendance, although in slightly new configurations; Beattie teams up with Nations Cup team mate Mhairi Wallace, whilst Coutts reignite her longstanding partnership with beach volleyball legend Denise Austin, winner of 10 Weymouth titles!
Team England's Jessica Grimson will also prove fierce opposition, as she teams up with Alyssa Ballenger who makes her UKBT Grand Slam debut. Katie Keefe and Isabelle Tucker will also be in attendance, with Tucker preparing to compete in the CEV U20 European championships later this year.
Having relocated back to Italy, Rastelli returns to the UK especially to compete in Weymouth this year, in what will be the 40th anniversary of the tournament. "It is just incredible what an institution Weymouth has become,' Rastelli remarks. "I am glad to be a part of this story and the history, and I hope I come back and play it with my kids one day!'
The main draw of the Weymouth Grand Slam will begin on Saturday 22nd July from 9:00am, concluding with the finals on Sunday afternoon from 2:00pm. You will be able to keep track of Giulia's progress by following on all our social media channels.
Follow the link below for a the full confirmed entry list and schedule: