Millman: 'That's What The Best Players Do'
Aussie reflects on final-set tie-break defeat
The 30-year-old, who beat Federer in four sets to reach the US Open quarter-finals in 2018, was aiming to reach the Round of 16 at his home Grand Slam for the first time, but Federer stormed back from 4/8 down in a fifth-set Match Tie-break to record his 100th victory at Melbourne Park.
“If you watched to get up to 8/4, I hit a running forehand line pass, a running forehand cross pass, a stop volley that I was probably dead to rights to make,” said Millman. “Then Roger made it tough. I don't know. That's what the best players, I guess, do."
Despite failing to get across the line, Millman was proud of his attitude in key moments, standing by his aggressive game plan that had proven successful throughout the majority of the four-hour, three-minute battle.
“It's not as if it was double faults or first-ball errors. I went after it," said Millman. "At 8/8, I had a chance, he played a pretty good volley, I'm running full tilt. Missed one line. Again, that would have been a pretty good pass.
“Then I played a great point, I think, at 8/9 and he picks the right way. What do you do, you know?”
While the Brisbane native was happy with his strategy in the final moments of the match, Millman admitted that it doesn’t make it any easier to accept the result after coming so close to victory.
"[I didn’t do much wrong, but] it still hurts, to be honest with you. [I would] probably rather lose it like 10/5 or something,” said Millman. “Obviously, it would have been great to have served an ace and had a few [match points] and put it to bed.”
Playing in Australia, Millman can often expect a large majority of crowd support during the opening month of the year. But playing Federer, a six-time champion in Melbourne, on the biggest stage, can often prove to be an experience like no other.
"I love the support," said Millman. "Roger probably had a little bit more tonight… I try to make the most of it when I'm back here. [I am] very grateful that everyone stayed and watched the battle and, you know, some of them got behind me."