Resurfaced: When Krawietz/Mies Made German Doubles History In Paris
Editor's Note: But for the COVID-19 pandemic, Roland Garros would now be underway. During the next two weeks ATPTour.com will look back on memorable matches and happenings at the clay-court Grand Slam, which tournament organisers are now hoping to stage in September. This story was originally published on 8 June 2019.
Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies enjoyed a breakthrough 2019 campaign. At the beginning of the year, they were just trying to compete more regularly on the ATP Tour. The Germans went on to win their first three tour-level titles and they qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals. Their biggest breakthrough, however, came at Roland Garros.
Krawietz and Mies became the first all-German team in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam men's doubles title in Paris, beating Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin 6-2, 7-6(3) in the final.
Appearing in just their ninth tour-level event as a duo, the unseeded tandem claimed 81 per cent of first-serve points and did not face a break point en route to victory after 85 minutes. Krawietz and Mies join 1992 Wimbledon doubles champion Michael Stich (w/J. McEnroe) and 2010 Wimbledon and 2011 US Open doubles winner Philipp Petzschner (w/J. Melzer) as the only German winners of a men's doubles Grand Slam crown.
"We played [for the] first time [at the] French Open and won the title. I don't know. It sounds ridiculous," said Krawietz. "It's an incredible feeling. Of course, we were nervous for the final. But before the tournament, if somebody said, we [would] play the quarter-finals... we [would have] said, 'Okay, we are fine with this'. When you are in the quarter-finals, you want to win, but match-by-match. [I have] no words for this. Incredible."
In the first meeting between an all-French pair and an all-German pair in a Grand Slam men’s doubles final, Krawietz and Mies raced out to a 4-0 lead and dominated net exchanges to take the first set. Chardy and Martin raised their level in the second set, reaching a tie-break shortly after saving a break point in a marathon game at 5-5.
But Krawietz and Mies would not be denied, earning back-to-back points on return at 3/4 before sealing the title as Mies fired a forehand volley off the court. In celebration, both players quickly collapsed onto the clay of Court Philippe-Chatrier in unison.
Krawietz and Mies were made to work for their second tour-level title of the season, having also beaten last year’s champion Nicolas Mahut, who lifted the trophy with Pierre-Hugues Herbert, in the second round and 2018 finalists Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic in the third round. The German pairing picked up their maiden ATP Tour crown in February, without dropping a set, at the New York Open (d. Gonzalez/Qureshi).
"Every match was special," said Krawietz. "The first round we play French guys [Guinard and Rinderknech]... third round was Marach/Pavic, a pretty good team, fourth seeded. We said, 'Okay, we have nothing to lose' and maybe this was a very big step for us. After this match, we were very confident.
"Also the round before, I have to say, actually, Mahut/Melzer, we very much respect these two guys because they won six Grand Slams in doubles [between them]. I think the second and third-round [wins were] very important for us and to have a lot of confidence for the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final."
Krawietz and Mies have shown impressive form throughout the clay-court season, reaching the Hungarian Open semi-finals and winning ATP Challenger Tour titles in Marbella and Heilbronn. Krawietz also won ATP Challenger Tour events in Budapest (w/Polasek) and Aix en Provence (w/Melzer). Andy Ram and Jonathan Erlich were the last team to win Challenger and Grand Slam titles in the same season, capturing trophies at the Australian Open and Ramat Hasharon Challenger in 2008.
"You want to make that step from going from Challengers to ATP Tour level," said Mies "That was our goal when we started last year. It's crazy that we made it that quick in that short period of time... The crucial moment was Wimbledon last year where we used the chance of qualifying and we went to the third round.
"We lost with match points against Bryan/Sock who went on to win the tournament. But that was a moment where we realized we had the level to beat all the top guys... This is just unbelievable. We hope to stay on the Tour for a long time, and hopefully stay healthy and play 10 more years, play until 40, who knows?"
The Germans are just the second team in the Open Era to win the men’s doubles title on their Roland Garros debut, joining 1989 champions Jim Grabb and Patrick McEnroe. Five players in the Open Era have lifted the trophy on their first appearance in the Roland Garros men’s doubles draw.
Chardy and Martin were aiming to become the sixth different all-French pair in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam men’s doubles title. The home favourites, who lifted trophies in Marseille and Estoril earlier this year, were also bidding to follow in the footsteps of Herbert and Mahut, who became the third all-French duo in the Open Era to win the clay-court Grand Slam championship last year.
Chardy and Martin eliminated four seeded teams en route to the final, including top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo and third seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.
"Unfortunately, we didn't play our best match today, but we hate losing... We played excellent matches during the entire fortnight," said Chardy. "It's our first Grand Slam final, so that's the positive side of it. It gives us a sour taste in our mouth and the desire to get the trophy next time."
"I'm extremely disappointed tonight," said Martin. "But at the same time, it makes me want to continue working to lift the trophy next time."
Krawietz and Mies receive 2000 ATP Doubles Ranking points and split €580,000 in prize money. Chardy and Martin gain 1200 points and share €290,000.