John Millman may not be getting the Australian Open farewell tour he desired after being controversially snubbed by Tennis Australia for a singles wildcard but he has taken the chance to say goodbye to Melbourne Park in doubles with both hands. Millman received a late wildcard for the men's doubles tournament, teaming up with 19-year-old Edward Winter in the first round on Thursday.
The pair came from a set down and saved a match point as they upset fellow Aussie Marcus Daniell and Brazilian Marcelo Demoliner 6-7 6-2 7-6 (14-12). After winning the match Millman congratulated his teen doubles partner before shaking the umpire's hand and going over to thank everyone who came to support him.
In a selfless move, the Aussie spent close to five minutes shaking crowd members' hands and signing shirts, balls, pictures and taking selfies with the supporters. Millman was heard saying on Channel 9's broadcast, "You beauty" and "You guys were awesome" as he individually thanked members of the crowd.
John Millman says doubles tournament is the last of his tennis career
Tennis Australia officials decided to not hand Millman direct entry into his home grand slam, instead having to go through qualifying. However, qualifying didn't go to plan as Millman lost in the second round to Alex Molcan of Slovakia.
While the loss ended Millman's dream of a singles farewell, he received a wildcard doubles spot alongside Winter so the Aussie could end his tennis career at the Australian Open. Speaking on the ABC Tennis Podcast on Wednesday the Aussie revealed he only learnt about his doubles entry at the last minute and says he will be making the most of it.
"I got a very late call-up, but I am playing with a very good friend of mine, someone who I'm starting to watch his career progress, a guy called Eddie Winter," Millman said. "So my retirement was probably a little bit even quicker than even John Farnham's."
"It'll be a lot of fun, at least one more match and I get to play with a young up-and-comer Australian. I've always loved hitting with the young ones because I remember my journey when Lleyton Hewitt would grow me a bone or I remember when I was 17 and I got to hit with Patty Rafter on the Sunshine Coast.
John Millman says not making Paris is his biggest career regret
The Aussie fan favourite revealed his biggest career regret is not being able to make it to the Paris Olympics. On Channel 9's Australian Open broadcast, Millman said he was sad he couldn't keep going one more year to make the 2024 Games.
"The tennis (at the Paris Olympics) is going to be played at Roland Garros," Millman said. "It will be my one regret in my career that I couldn’t extend it one more year and get to Paris."
Millman represented Australia at the Tokyo Games and he puts that achievement down as one of the greatest of his career. "One of my proudest moments was representing the country in an Olympic Games and Davis Cups," Millman said
"I was lucky enough to be in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Ended up losing to a very good Japanese player there on centre court, Kei Nishikori, who went on to win bronze... Wasn't a bad loss that one and obviously Tokyo Olympics was played in 2021 due to Covid. It's a shame that they didn't have crowds there because every detail was thought of in Japan. Fantastic experience."
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