Fire & Ice: How Krawietz & Mies Have Become 2019's Breakout Doubles Team
When Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies arrived at the New York Open this February, the Germans had played only three tour-level events together. Neither player had earned much experience on the ATP Tour beyond that.
But not only did they capture the trophy there; they would become the breakout doubles team of 2019. Krawietz and Mies claimed glory at Roland Garros and now they are into the semi-finals of the US Open. They certainly didn’t foresee any of that happening.
“I would have asked you how many beers you had to ask me this question, honestly,” Mies said, cracking a laugh. “I mean it’s unbelievable. I wouldn’t believe you if you would have told us that in New York in February.”
It’s as if the Germans have come full circle. They did not drop a set on the indoor hard courts of Long Island’s ATP 250 tournament seven months ago, and now, they’re back in New York for more. This time, they are only two victories from earning a second major crown.
“Winning our first ATP title meant so much for us. It was such a big moment and big relief that really showed us we belonged on the ATP Tour,” Mies said. “We were just coming from the Challenger Tour and making the next step getting into more ATP events at the start of the year. Then we won one title right away, so that gave us a lot of confidence moving forward.”
The first time Krawietz and Mies played together was at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Meerbusch, Germany, in August 2017. But due to a knee injury Mies was dealing with, they did not compete as a team again until April 2018.
But they wasted little time finding a groove, winning two Challengers and reaching two additional finals at that level by Wimbledon, where they qualified and reached the Round of 16.
“We played the first tournament and clicked from the start,” Krawietz said. “We have good communication and I think it fits good. On court, off court also. It’s important to understand [one another] off court also because we are travelling all the time together and just improve our game.”
The question is, how has this tandem found such a high level without much experience on the sport’s biggest stages, let alone with one another?
“Andi is unbelievable at the net with the best reactions. I feel good on my serve of course because he helps me a lot, so I feel very comfortable on my serve. I have to hit the right spots and then he can cover the good spots and take whatever he feels,” Krawietz said. “On the returns, we are both returning good. We have no big weakness. We can improve of course here and there, but I think that’s a good thing.”
“German machines!” Mies interjected, with a smile.
“It’s not normal that you play with a guy and you start winning right away. You have to find a way and you have to find the right chemistry to feel comfortable on the court,” Mies said. “We’re different players, we’re different characters, but it just clicks.
“Kevin is a more relaxed guy, a little bit more calm and I’m more an emotional guy, emotional player. It’s a little bit like fire and ice. It just really helps me when I’m a bit too emotional, he calms me down. When it’s close, he’s always very relaxed. It helps me to relax. When he’s a bit too relaxed and he’s a bit low with the energy, I can push him up.”
The Germans followed different paths. Krawietz, a 27-year-old, tried his hand in singles, climbing as high as No. 211 in the ATP Rankings. Mies, who is 29, attended Auburn University before moving onto life as a professional tennis player, focussing on doubles.
But from the moment they stepped on the court together, Krawietz and Mies have proven a dynamic duo. A year ago, they were simply battling to be able to compete on the ATP Tour. Now, they are playing to prove they are one of the best teams in the world.
“It’s a crazy journey. We talk about it sometimes, too, how fast it all went, starting from the Challenger Tour last year in April and one year later being a Grand Slam champion and now giving us a chance to [potentially] play another final after a short period of time,” Mies said. “After the French Open, we had a little down, maybe. We didn’t play our best in the grass season. But I’m really happy to find our game again and to play a great level. We don’t take it for granted. We really enjoy that moment and will go for it again on Thursday.”