Aussie underdog Millman heckled by home fans during loss
AUSTRALIAN John Millman was heckled by his home crowd during his heartbreaking loss to Roger Federer on Friday night.
Millman went down in five sets and a super tie-break to Federer - losing 10-8 in the fifth set after more than four hours on court.
The 30-year-old cut a broken figure in the hours after the loss, struggling to come to terms with blowing an 8-4 lead in the fifth set super tie-break.
Normally the likeable Queenslander enjoys unwavering support wherever he plays in Australia, but he was battling not just Federer on Friday night -but also the Rod Laver Arena crowd, who were willing the 20-time grand slam champion to extend his Australian Open run.
Millman admitted to being heckled by members of the crowd - while also taking a moment to thank the Australian fans for the support he received throughout the week, and admitting it put the Australian players at a disadvantage throughout the year when they played away from home.
"I love the support. Roger probably had a little bit more tonight," Millman said.
Well that sucked...— John Millman (@johnhmillman) January 24, 2020
"There was a guy trying to heckle me, calling me a few things, and then I called him something back.
"I love playing in Australia. We don't get to do it too much. Puts us at a real disadvantage throughout the year that we don't get to play too much in Australia.
"I think Australians are at a disadvantage because of that. I try to make the most of it when I'm back here.
"Very grateful that everyone stayed and watched the battle and, you know, some of them got behind me."
From his perspective, Federer felt the crowd had given him "more (support) than you have to" - and said there were no hard feelings towards those who had backed the Aussie underdog.
"It is nice. He deserves all the support. He is such a great fighter," Federer said.
"You gave me more than you have to. If they cheer on my opponent, it's all good. It's not personal, I know that."
Speaking on The Tennis Podcast, broadcaster Matt Roberts said he sensed Millman was "annoyed" by the lack of support.
"I thought it was 50-50… but John Millman went into press and thought that Federer had more (support) and he sounded a little bit annoyed about it as well," Roberts said.
Nick Kyrgios spoke for a nation in the early hours of Saturday morning when he jumped on Twitter in the aftermath of John Millman's epic loss.
Having already declared he was playing this tournament with good mate Alex de Minaur in his thoughts, after the young gun was forced to withdraw through injury, Kyrgios showed there was plenty of empathy for another Davis Cup teammate.
"I feel sick," Kyrgios wrote immediately after Millman's torturous tie-break meltdown, where Federer rallied from 8-4 down to win six consecutive points and steal a spot in the fourth round.