'Never seen that': John Millman blasts opponent in Wimbledon furore

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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John Millman was 'annoyed' after Roberto Bautista Agut took a medical timeout at a crucial moment.
John Millman admitted to being 'annoyed' by a medical timeout taken by Roberto Bautista Agut which stopped his momentum in the crucial fourth set of their fourth round at Wimbledon. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Australian tennis star John Millman was left frustrated by a medical timeout taken by Roberto Bautista Agut at a crucial juncture of their first round match at Wimbeldon.

Millman suggested the break, which came during the decisive fourth set tiebreak, cost him momentum in the 6-2 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4) battle.

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The world No.8 called for the trainer at 3-3 in the fourth set, with Millman admitting after the match that he was 'annoyed' by the delay.

After dropping the first set to Bautista Agut, the Aussie world No.43 fought back to win the second set.

The Spaniard took the third set with relatively little fuss, but Millman showed he wouldn't go down without a fight, going the distance in the fourth.

With the tiebreaker finely poised, Bautista Agut pulled up sharply when chasing down a short ball, then at the 3-3 changeover asking for the trainer to treat his left thigh.

Millman was unhappy about the timing and reckoned the "thigh rub" took far too long.

"To be honest, I'm a bit annoyed at that (long timeout)," he said.

"Stopped for about 10 minutes!

"I haven't seen that at 3-3 in a tiebreak for a thigh rub. I don't care who's playing.

"At 3-3 in a tiebreak in a fourth set, that's going to stall momentum."

If he was frustrated on court Millman didn't show it, with an incredibly classy gesture for his opponent when he appeared to tweak his thigh once again a short time later.

Now on the brink of defeat against the 2019 semi-finalist, Millman was more concerned about Bautista Agut's wellbeing, going straight to the other side of the court to aid the stricken Spaniard, patting him on the shoulder and picking up his racquet.

Nevertheless, Millman wished he'd handled the initial timeout differently.

"Look, I give the benefit of doubt to my opponent - I should have handled it better," Millman said.

"Should have gone for a run around the grounds or something if I'd known it was going to be a 10-minute delay. It's just frustrating.

"I'm still emotional a little bit. It's tough conditions.

"We're in a bubble, an 11-month trip that I'm on.

"I'll get home some time in September and I'm in bubbles every week.

"Olympics coming up, I had to pull out of Roland Garros with injury.

"You want to make it all worthwhile because I'd rather be home sometimes - and right now, I feel like I'd rather be at home."

Sporting Millman hailed by Bautista Agut

It says much about the respect that Millman and Bautista Agut hold for each other that even the flashpoint near the end of the Spaniard's victory on Monday did not stop the victorious No.8 seed from saluting the Queenslander.

"We've known each since the first time he came and was 17 and we played a futures event in Barcelona," Bautista Agut told AAP.

"We know each other very well and I respect him a lot; he's a great guy and showed great sportsmanship today."

Roberto Bautista Agut praised John Millman's sportsmanship after their first round match at Wimbledon. (Photo by AELTC/Ian Walton-Pool/Getty Images)
Roberto Bautista Agut praised John Millman's sportsmanship after their first round match at Wimbledon. (Photo by AELTC/Ian Walton-Pool/Getty Images)

When you're still more concerned about your opponent's health than your imminent defeat, that's class.

"I said 'sorry' to him after the match because I had to do that stop," 2019 semi-finalist Bautista Agut said.

"He said 'I understand' and there were no problems at all after that. It was not a good moment in the match (to take a timeout) but I had to do it."

Millman wasn't blaming Bautista Agut for the length of time he got treated.

"Roberto's a really good guy so obviously I knew something was wrong - but I'd never seen it happen in a fourth-set tiebreaker. Never."

With AAP

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