Roger Federer is the greatest of all time – and one of the most famous players in history. But it left a bitter taste in the fact that Australian fan favorite John Millman was treated as a second-class citizen by fans during his heartbreaking defeat on Friday night.
Millman fell into a cruel defeat in five sets, a tiebreaker for Federer, losing 10-8 in the fifth set after more than four hours on the pitch.
The 30-year-old broke a figure in the hours following the loss, struggling to come to terms with an 8-4 lead in the fifth set super tiebreak.
Normally the cute Queenslander enjoys unshakable support wherever he plays in Australia, but curiously he was fighting not only Federer on Friday night – but also the crowd of the Rod Laver Arena, who was willing to win the 20-time Grand Slam champion in Australia to prolong the his run to the Australian Open.
Millman admitted that he was disturbed by members of the crowd – while he also took a moment to thank Australian fans for the support he received during the week, and admitting it puts Australian players at a disadvantage during the year when they play away from home.
“I love the support. Roger probably had a little more tonight,” said Millman.
“There was a boy who was trying to pout me by calling me some things, and then I called him something.
“I love playing in Australia. We can’t do it too much. It puts us in a real disadvantage throughout the year when we can’t play too much in Australia. I think Australians are at a disadvantage because of this. I try to make the most of it when I get back here. .
“Very grateful that everyone stayed to watch the battle and, you know, some of them have me behind them.”
Speaking on The Tennis Podcast, broadcaster Matt Roberts revealed that he sensed that Millman was “annoyed” by the lack of support.
“I thought it was 50-50 … but John Millman went to press and thought Federer had more (support) and he seemed a little annoyed too,” said Roberts.