Aussie tennis fan favourite John Millman has made the sad announcement that persistent injuries have forced him to call time on his career. The 34-year-old revealed on Thursday night that he was retiring from the sport after the 2024 Australian Open, with his 10th campaign at Melbourne Park set to be his last.
Millman has battled a number of serious injuries over the years and made the brutal revelation that "unfortunately age has caught up to me". The Queenslander reached a career-high No.33 in the world in October 2018, with his lone ATP singles title coming in Kazakhstan in 2020. Millman also featured in five Davis Cup ties for Australia while also wearing the green and gold at two Olympic Games.
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"Just the three (shoulder) surgeries. Chronic back injury was the thing that did me in, though," Millman told AAP, after posting on social media: "All good things come to an end. After the upcoming Australian Summer, I'll be retiring from professional tennis. I'm incredibly grateful for all the support I've had throughout my career. It's been a thrilling ride living out a dream I had as a kid."
All good things come to an end.
After the upcoming Australian Summer I’ll be retiring from professional tennis.
I’m incredibly grateful for all the support I’ve had throughout my career.
It’s been a thrilling ride living out a dream I had as a kid. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/BFru6Wjwgn
— John Millman (@johnhmillman) November 9, 2023
The highlight of Millman's career was undoubtedly his 2018 US Open win over Roger Federer in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows. The gutsy Aussie defied oppressively hot and humid conditions and his considerable underdog status to topple the Swiss great in four pulsating sets.
The 3-6, 7-5, 7-6, 7-6 win over the Swiss maestro saw Millman become the first Aussie since Pat Rafter at the 1999 French Open to defeat Federer. The epic victory cemented the Queenslander's place in Aussie tennis folklore.
Unfortunately, the Aussie's run at that US Open came to an end in the quarter-finals against Novak Djokovic, with the Serb eventually going on to claim the title. Millman also went agonisingly close to repeating his epic victory over Federer at the 2020 Australian Open after taking the 20-time grand slam champion to a fifth set decider.
Fans celebrate John Millman's tennis career
However, the Swiss great prevailed 8-4 in the deciding super-tiebreaker to deny Millman a special slice of history. Regardless, his 2018 US Open victory remains the stuff of legends and fans were quick to remember the epic feat after offering their well-wishes to Millman after the sad retirement announcement.
My all time favourite @johnhmillman moment is when he beat Federer in the 2018 @usopen to make his first and only ever grand slam quarter final.
He fought for every ball and it was the best I saw him play. We will miss him from the tour. #millman pic.twitter.com/OTD8tD7kAm
— Pavvy G (@pavyg) November 9, 2023
Congratulations on your career John, I love watching your games over the years. Proud of you legend
— JAKE FLAGPIES23 🏆🖤🤍 (@IncrediblyBozza) November 9, 2023
John Millman typified Queensland spirit and decency on and off the court.
His five set thriller against Roger Federer remains one of the greatest displays of grit and determination.
We wish you well in the next chapter of your life. https://t.co/hcImIIEADi
— David Crisafulli (@DavidCrisafulli) November 9, 2023
We will miss you John. A real gem. Best of luck
— Tennis Puneet 🎾 📚 (@TennisPuneet) November 9, 2023
John Millman says his body has 'broken down'
Millman had the honour of becoming the first player in Olympic history to win a singles match 6-0 6-0 when he thumped Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis at the Rio 2016 Games. As well as his unforgettable run to the US Open quarter-finals in 2018, Millman also twice made the third round at Melbourne Park and Wimbledon, for his best grand slam results.
The Queenslander, who has also been a strong advocate for better pay for the lower echelon of stars on the men's Tour, admits his retirement decision came after the realisation that his body had "broken down". "It's been a fantastic career, but I'm ready to try something else," Brisbane-born Millman told Nine News Queensland. "The way I play, I have to be up there playing 11 months a year; and I'm just no longer able to do so.
"I can still play at a high level, I feel, but not day-in, day-out. The body is not letting me. All those years of being physical on the court have caught up with me. "
Millman will feature in Australia's United Cup side for the mixed teams' event that kicks off the summer of tennis in Perth and Sydney from December 29. While he won't receive direct entry into the Australian Open due to a world ranking of 436, it's almost certain that Millman will be awarded a wild card in order to say a fitting goodbye to tennis at his home slam.
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