It’s been a little over a month since April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings announced that they would be splitting up their successful partnership.
Since then, we have heard from Walsh Jennings her side of the issue through a Facebook post, while up until recently Ross has remained fairly quiet on the subject. Following the conclusion of her and new partner Lauren Fendrick’s AVP Tour win in New York City, Ross digs a little deeper into the breakup and why it happened.
According to Ross, the final straw for her was when she decided to sign an exclusivity agreement with the AVP for domestic events leading up to the Tokyo Olympics, while Walsh Jennings decided she would not. This stems from a number of reasons, as Walsh Jennings is currently suing the AVP Tour operator for a breach of their contract. Walsh Jennings claims that the AVP operator did not pay her nearly $150,000 in 2016 for events and promotional activities for the tour, which was a part of an ongoing deal that stretched over four years and $450,000 in total.
Ross is still warming up to Fendrick as her new partner but says that it is moving in the right direction. With Walsh Jennings, Ross was only utilizing two plays on defense while with Fendrick, they now rotate between seven different defensive plays.
“Lauren want’s to push the boundaries and see what new stuff we can come up with and be creative on the court. Kerri is a little more traditional minded,” said Ross to NBCSports.
Now, Walsh Jennings has recently taken up with new/former partner Nicole Branagh. The two previously paired up in 2010, when Misty May-Treanor was uncertain in her run for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
To two pairs will meet at the FIVB World Tour event in Porec, Croatia beginning on June 26. Ross and Walsh Jennings have only been on opposite sides of the net at the 2012 London Games when Walsh Jennings and May-Treanor defeated Ross and Jennifer Kessy for the gold medal.
“To be honest, for my entire career, I’ve focused on my side of the net,” explained Ross. “That’s going to continue to be the case. If we do com up against her, it will be just like any other team out there on the international tour.”
Ross is going to keep it civil but also expresses that professional beach volleyball is her livelihood, therefore having to treat every competitor the same. After Ross and Whitney Pavlik won the AVP Tour event in Austin, Walsh Jennings congratulated them on their win, but have not spoken to each other since.
“We are competitors now. She’s on a different team now, and I’m on a different team,” said Ross.