French Open champ turns shelf stacker during pandemic

Munich-based Kevin Krawietz, ranked 13th in doubles, says that as a pro he has a special permit to “train three or four times a week” at a local tennis hall.

This year's tennis season is in danger of being wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic.

This year's tennis season is in danger of being wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic. (Representative Image)   -  Getty Images

A year after winning the men's doubles title at Roland Garros, German tennis player Kevin Krawietz is helping out during the coronavirus pandemic by stacking shelves in his local supermarket.

“I've been working for a discount supermarket on a 450 euros ($488) basis for a few weeks now,” Krawietz, who won the 2019 French Open title with Antoine Mies, told magazine Der Spiegel.

Munich-based Krawietz, ranked 13th in doubles, says that as a pro he has a special permit to “train three or four times a week” at a local tennis hall.

The 2020 tennis season has been decimated by the coronavirus and the French Open has been postponed from May until September.

READ| Coronavirus: Thiem dismisses tennis relief fund

When not training, Krawietz, 28, is busy stacking shelves during the pandemic. Germany currently has 155,193 cases of the virus and 5,750 deaths so far.

“I sort out the shelves, make sure the sausage and cheese is well stocked and sort out the empty boxes,” he explained.

“Last week, I was on security duty at the entrance, spraying shopping trolleys with disinfectant.”

Krawietz had been considering “a normal job”, but “thanks to coronavirus, I now have the opportunity to do so”.

He says the experience gives him a greater “appreciation” of his career as a tennis pro.

“My colleagues are sometimes in the shop from half past five to fill the shelves,” he said.

“I, on the other hand, have had the luxury of being able to turn my hobby into my profession.”

READ| Rafael Nadal 'very pessimistic' about return of tennis

Krawietz and Mies enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2019, backing up victory in Paris by reaching the semifinals of the US Open.

Before that however, Krawietz admits often having struggled to make ends meet, “some years I finished in the red”.

“Once I won a little over a thousand euros in prize money for a tournament in Italy, that was my weekly salary,” he added.

“I have to pay tax on that, take out travel expenses and the fee for a coach. There was not much left.”

He backed Novak Djokovic's recent calls to set up an aid fund to help low-ranking pros struggling financially.

“That can certainly help some players survive,” said Krawietz.

“But all in all it would be nice if we - independent of coronavirus - could make it possible to make a good living out of the sport even beyond the Top 100.”

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