'Hasn't done us any favours': Aussie's cheeky dig at Roger Federer

Pictured here, Roger Federer has a laugh while attending the 2021 Laver Cup.
Roger Federer's incredible powers of longevity have made the Swiss the envy of his peers. Pic: Getty

Australia's John Millman says evergreen tennis legend Roger Federer has set a precedent over his career that is almost impossible to match.

Injury has forced Federer to withdraw from the upcoming Australian Open for a second straight year, but Millman says the 20-time grand slam champion's legacy still lingers like a dark cloud over his rivals.

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A Wimbledon quarter-finalist a month shy of his 40th birthday in 2021, Federer has continued to defy Father Time with standards of excellence and longevity that few before him come close to.

From a record 21 consecutive Australian Open appearances, Federer won six titles and made seven finals and 15 semi-finals at Melbourne Park.

Millman - who turns 33 next year - has also required multiple surgeries to keep his career ticking along.

Pictured right, Switzerland's Roger Federer shakes hands with Australia's John Millman.
John Millman (L) has marvelled at how Roger Federer has remained near the top of men's tennis for two decades. Pic: Getty (DAVID GRAY via Getty Images)

However, the Queenslander has taken a cheeky dig at the Swiss great after marvelling and cursing in equal measures at how Federer has remained in the upper echelon of men's tennis for two decades.

"At my age, probably this year I have decided not to take it for granted when the body's good," Millman told AAP ahead of his summer start at next week's Adelaide International.

"I keep getting told, 'take a look at Roger'. I don't think Roger's done favours to any tennis player.

"He's had the injury bugs the last couple of seasons but the guy played for ages, for bloody forever.

"Ten years ago, if you said guys would still be in their prime at 31, 32, 33, 34, they would have laughed at you.

"I remember when( Andre) Agassi was running around at 34 and people thought he was a little bit crazy and then he played the US Open final at 35.

"This is my point. Some of these guys have opened up that door to make it seem the norm, but it doesn't get any easier. That's the reality.

"Especially with my type of tennis, it's a physical brand of tennis."

Millman is the only Australian since Pat Rafter at the 1999 French Open to conquer the Swiss master at a major.

John Millman hoping to kick on in 2022

He stunned the 20-times grand slam champion to gatecrash the 2018 US Open quarter-finals before going within two points of also dumping Federer from the 2020 Australian Open.

Although his ranking has dipped from a career-high world No.33 three years ago to 72nd, Millman ended 2021 in style with five quarter-final appearances from his last nine events after missing Roland Garros with a debilitating back injury.

"I'm actually really happy with where the body's at right now. It's in a better shape than it was at some stages this year," Millman said.

"So as long as the mindset's good when I walk on the court, it's really important.

"With COVID, it's been really challenging as an Aussie tennis player on the road this year.

"So at times mentally I probably haven't been at 100 per cent this year.

"But, right now, I'm physically and mentally in a good spot and I do believe if I can keep my body like this, I can have a better 2022 season."

with AAP

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