‘Great choke’: Trolls’ shocking attack on Millman
QUEENSLANDER John Millman revealed he had been savaged by social media trolls minutes after he was unable to eliminate world No.3 Grigor Dimitrov out of the Brisbane International from two match points up.
Millman, who has gamely fought back from two career-threatening injuries, trudged off with a past-midnight 4-6, 7-6 (10-8), 6-3 loss to Dimitrov at Pat Rafter Arena rather than a career-best win.
Millman, a wildcard entry ranked No.128, can take some solace from the fact that Dimitrov played two courageous, well-executed points to save the two match points in the second set tiebreak.
Dimitrov, the Brisbane defending champion, terminated a long rally on the first point with a lunging backhand volley and then chanced a forehand drive which grazed a sideline on the second.
"The guys sending me messages on Instagram think I could have done more - I got called some pretty nasty names for losing that point,'' Millman said.
"I saw the video of the first match point on my phone as I scrolled through all the abuse, from all those great punters who then troll your account.
"He nearly cleaned both lines with two volleys and did what a No.3 player in the world does. Great point - too good.''
The Brisbane right-hander took sets at Rafter Arena off both Andy Murray in 2013 and Roger Federer in 2015 and was again unable to capitalise fully on some inspired attacking tennis in front of a noisy home crowd.
"I can be proud of giving everything. That's tennis,'' Millman said.
"It would have been one of the highlights of my career to win here - I'd have loved it to win in front of my home crowd who stuck it out after midnight to watch me play.''
Dimitrov admitted that he thought he would lose the first match point during the rally.
"I thought I was out on that point - John played unbelievable tennis and deserves to win tonight,'' he said.
"He was a little unlucky in the tiebreak.''
Millman, 28, will pick up the pieces from the 2hr35min contest and reflect that he has fought back so well from groin surgery which sidelined him for the entire Australian summer circuit 12 months ago.
Millman will decide later today if he plays qualifying on Saturday at the Sydney International, although he holds out some hope that he could receive the last of the two Tennis Australian wildcards into its main draw.
The fourth-ranked Australian will use one of his remaining injury-protected entries to enter the Australian Open from Monday week.
The athletic Dimitrov raised his standard of play in the second set and he took a 4-1 lead in the third, with Millman trying to rally his emotions with numerous fist-pumping his fist after winning points to hold for 2-4.
It took a super-fit tennis talent of the Bulgarian's quality to deny Millman's court coverage and counter punching success its reward.
Dimitrov was seeded to meet Nick Kyrgios in the semi-finals and they are the only two seeds in the men's singles quarter-finals.
The Bulgarian will play Britain's Kyle Edmond on Friday night for a place in the semi-finals.
Millman had nothing to fear in the numerous punishing rallies against Dimitrov, ranked 125 places above him, in their first tournament of the year.