AAs a father, priorities shift. In the case of Frankfurt tennis pro Tim Pütz, this means spending a few more hours traveling than usual after a strenuous year. The 35-year-old doubles specialist with his partner Michael Venus had to hold out as a substitute at the ATP finals in Turin until Friday evening and used this for intensive training far away from loved ones and home.
For the prestigious final tournament of the best eight doubles of the year, the German-Australian duo just barely failed to qualify for the second time in a row. The fact of this long tennis season means that the Hessian should have joined his Davis Cup colleagues in the Spanish city of Malaga on Saturday.
Every hour with family counts
The German national team will serve this week as one of the eight best teams in the fourth edition of the 2018 radically reformed Davis Cup finals. Pütz, undeterred by all the background noise, flew back to Frankfurt to his wife and child, even if only for a short night and a few hours – and this on his special day. “I don’t know how many birthdays I’ve missed because of tennis, and I’m really not vain,” says the FAZ, who is currently the best German doubles player with 18th place according to the world rankings
In the summer he was seventh, higher than ever. Injuries, less training and the resulting worse results slowed Pütz down. But every hour with his family counts for him. In 2021 he became a father. That’s why the national player was allowed to play differently than his four teammates and the support staff around the team captain Michael Kohlman to travel and only joined the team on Sunday.
Davis Cup team as an oasis of well-being
The squad of the German Tennis Association (DTB) has long since become a kind of oasis of well-being; Gone are the days when, like at the beginning of the last decade, Davis Cup in Frankfurt, after a round of chopsticks, there was an argument about who didn’t have to compete. Since the reform, which was pushed through with hard bandages and many millions of dollars, the German team has qualified for the new final tournament at the end of the year in every edition.
A year ago, the team only failed in the final against those with the top 10 players Daniel Medvedev and Andriy Rublev individually better occupied Russians, but defeated the stronger rated Britons, among others. However, real Davis Cup mood only came up when hosts Spain served in the finals in Madrid.
In order to counteract this and silence the critics, the organizers initiated another intermediate round in 2022 with four preliminary round groups at four locations. In the new mode with only two singles and a following, in case of doubt everything decisive, Tim Pütz played a large part in the German success. Since Andreas Mies suffered a serious knee injury in early 2021, Pütz has played for Germany with his partner Kevin Krawietz.
Stronger than Krawietz/Mies at their best
Like Krawietz, Pütz is still unbeaten in the competition and made for nerve-racking world-class doubles in the intermediate round in Hamburg. Krawietz and Pütz played the past two Davis Cup years so successfully that Kohlmann continued to call the duo when Andreas Mies was fit again and companions were expecting the two-time French Open winners Krawietz/Mies in the Davis Cup. What trainers, experts and more and more fans observed, the actors themselves then noticed at some point. The duo played and continues to play harder than Krawietz and Mies did at their best. That’s why Pütz and Krawietz will also be on the ATP tour together next season.
This required two painful decisions. Krawietz and Mies announced their split on social media two weeks ago after five seasons. At a press conference, Krawietz spoke of “not a nice feeling” and a “long process”. It feels like breaking up with a relationship, but he believes that he can “win Grand Slam titles with his new partner, of course”.
Not an easy step
In an interview with the FAZ, Tim Pütz says that Krawietz and he made the decision two weeks after the Davis Cup in Hamburg. “Both Mies and Michael Venus wanted to continue playing, so it was certainly not the easiest step for either of us. The future will show whether it was the right one.” Both have relatively many opportunities for doubles specialists, they want to establish themselves as world-class doubles. He informed his partner, with whom he won a Masters tournament in 2021 and reached a final this year, of the decision during a conversation about the general orientation for 2023.
Pütz says: “Nobody would part with their doubles partner without having an alternative or at least an idea. Something bad would have to happen in the partnership for that to happen. That rarely happens, and it wasn’t the case for us either. I was the one who finally put the gun on Kevin’s chest, if you wanted to put it negatively.” He called his national team colleague and said: “Kevin, please say yes or no, not right away , but I’m ready to do this, are you?’” Krawietz was ready.
The first test after the announcement will be this Thursday when the German team meets the favorite Canadians around Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger Alliassime directly in the knockout system. If Jan-Lennard Struff or Oscar Otte manages to surprise Alexander Zverev in singles due to injury, Krawietz/Pütz are the clear favorites in doubles and Michael Kohlmann’s possible ace up his sleeve.