Retired Aussie fan favourite John Millman says his biggest career regret is not being able to make the Paris Olympics. Before the Australian Open, Tennis Australia officials made the controversial call not to hand Millman direct entry into his home grand slam for what would have been the final tournament of his career.
He was forced to go through qualifying for a final farewell at the 2024 Australian Open, but a loss to Alex Molcan of Slovakia in the second round of qualifying at Melbourne Park ended that dream. 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."
John Millman hopes Rafa Nadal will compete at Paris Olympics
Millman believes the king of clay Rafa Nadal would have been eyeing the 2024 Games "for three years" and hopes he can form a "dream" combo with Carlos Alcaraz at the Paris Olympics. “He will desperately want that Olympic gold and more so the Olympic gold in singles," Millman said.
"It’s the Olympic gold in singles. It’s the only thing that’s missing. Alcaraz and Nadal will be a dream combo for Spain, I wouldn't want to be at the net, those guys hitting forehands at me. I think there's a pretty good chance that both of these two gentlemen will be there."
John Millman thanks fans for their unwavering support
In his final professional tennis match, Millman, who famously beat Roger Federer at the US Open in 2018, choked back tears as he thanked fans for their unwavering support. The 34-year-old's wife and parents were in attendance and were very emotional as he addressed the crowd for the last time.
"I won my first best-of-five match on this court (Court 3) against Gilles Muller," he said. "That one always sticks with me. Just any time the crowd lifted me, which happened a lot, I needed that help.
"I was never the biggest guy or the biggest hitter. I needed every bit of energy and they came in their droves always, even in qualifying. It might not seem like much to bow out in qualifying, but it means a lot."
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