For the first time since they each turned pro, Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies find themselves in one place for an extended stretch. The reigning Roland Garros doubles champions are at their respective homes in Germany, but a sedentary lifestyle didn’t sit well with the normally globetrotting duo.
The German pair suddenly had a wealth of free time at their disposal and were eager to use it productively. While Krawietz began to cook more and Mies enjoyed quality time with his family, they also began to think about how they could be of service to their communities.
“We’re in a very privileged position to play tennis and make a living out of our passion since we were little kids. We were able to take our hobby and turn it into a job,” Mies said in an upcoming episode of Tennis United. “Sometimes it’s hard to give back when we’re traveling so much for tournaments, so now was the time to think about what we can do to help.”
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Krawietz learned from a friend who manages a few stores in Munich that they needed workers. Three days after offering to help, the 28-year-old clocked in at 5:30am for his first day of work at Lidl, a German supermarket chain. Krawietz has done everything from stocking shelves to disinfecting shopping carts and working security at the front entrance to ensure there are no more than 40 customers inside.
“I was doing security at the front door from 3:00-8:30pm and had to stand the whole time. I was already looking at my watch after 30 minutes and thought it was like a fitness session,” Krawietz joked. “After that, I was thinking that I’m very lucky to have a job where I get to play tennis and travel so much. But even though getting up at 5:00am hurts a bit, it’s been a new experience and fun to talk with my other colleagues.”
The World No. 13 in the FedEx ATP Doubles Rankings hasn’t received any special treatment on the job. He attempted to work at the store anonymously until a German magazine broke the story. But once Krawietz’s boss discovered that his shelf stocker was a professional athlete, he wasn’t exactly compelled to offer a promotion.
“I need five minutes to find the right aisle for everything,” Krawietz said, laughing. “My boss would point at me and my friend, who also used to play professional tennis, and joke about how slow we are.”
Mies opted to lend a hand by teaming up with German football player Bastian Oczipca to deliver fruit to essential workers and the special needs community. The two athletes, who currently serve as ambassadors for the Special Olympics, recently delivered apples to the employees and residents of Lebenshilfe, a non-profit organisation that enables people with intellectual disabilities to lead a more independent life.
Mies and Oczipica were not able to visit the residents personally because they are considered a high-risk population during the pandemic, so they also wrote cards for them. They are encouraging others to do the same through Lebenshilfe’s website and believe that small gestures can still have a meaningful impact.
“We just wanted to make them smile and do our part to help the community,” Mies said. “It doesn’t have to be much. It’s nice to see a lot of players doing things to make people happy and help out their communities.”