Finally An Aussie Tennis Star Who Isn't A Brat
He's one in a Millman.
What a truly great week in Australian tennis.
Yes, you read that correctly!
An Aussie star on the rise caused an almighty upset to win through to the US Open Quarter Finals, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
This is an occasion to recognise because it feels like, for once, we aren’t rolling our eyes over the brat-like antics and carry-on of Nick Kyrgios or Bernard Tomic. This is more than celebrating sweet, sweet victory. This is meaningful, this is a story of persistence.
Yesterday, Brisbane’s John Millman was the talk of the town, well, the globe actually, after he produced a shock victory over the legend that is Roger Federer, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6, 7-6, in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.
Millman’s own tale has all the storylines, and all the feels, but the most impressive aspect of this momentous occasion was the manner in which the 29-year-old conducted himself on, then off, the court.
READ MORE: Aussie John Millman Beats Roger Federer
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The world #55, who was languishing at no.235 just 12 months ago, is a poster boy for how tough life really is on the tour for the majority of athletes who simply aren’t the game’s biggest names, the absolute cream of the crop.
The Queenslander has slept on train station floors, constantly battled injury, copped setback after setback and bounced back time and time again, studied and completed a university degree, then worked a day job in finance to make ends meet as he continued to chase his dream.
Combining natural talent and mental toughness with an amazing work ethic, everlasting commitment and fierce determination, Millman has slowly but surely made progress, gained momentum and edged closer to glory.
In May, he won a tournament in France and received a winner’s check of $21,158. Yesterday’s boilover result guaranteed him at least a $475,000 windfall at the US Open.
Scrolling through Twitter yesterday, because tweets go hand-in-hand with live sport spectating and reality TV watching, right?, there were sentiments galore about Millman and his performance:
“The stuff of dreams."
“Absolute class act.”
“FINALLY. Australia has a tennis player we can be proud of!”
“The win of a lifetime for an easy guy to root for.”
“Talent itself is nothing to be proud of but what you do with it is – on that issue John Millman is a shining star.”
“The kind of tennis star a country could get behind... at last!”
Millman’s display, as well as that of teen sensation Alex De Minaur, who showed grit, fight and spirit in a thrilling five-set loss to 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic at the weekend, are the breath of fresh air we’ve been crying out for.
While Kyrgios is constantly in the headlines for all the wrong reasons it’s important to remember he doesn’t represent Australian tennis as a whole. Not Millman, not De Minaur or Daria Gavrilova and Samantha Stosur. It’s time we consider the terrible two the exception to the rule.
Amongst the buzz of Millman’s breakthrough performance he quickly turned focus to his next task, a Quarter Final showdown with another giant of the sport, Novak Djokovic.
Can he slay another giant?
Millman, and the tennis world, now know he can.
“Can I beat him? Yeah. Why not? I think it’s a disservice to who I am if I go out there and don’t have that belief,’’ he said.
During that humble post-win media conference, the Aussie mentioned he had a 7am wake-up call today to do his fantasy football draft.
He really is one in a Millman.