Australian Open 2020: Federer shrugs off concerns over 82 unforced errors in Millman classic

By Sports Desk January 24, 2020

Roger Federer shrugged off questions about his high unforced error count after he survived a massive Australian Open scare from John Millman. 

Federer appeared destined for a third-round exit when he fell behind 8-4 in the decisive match tie-break at the end of the fifth set.

Millman had come from two sets to one down to move within two points of victory, but Federer rattled off six successive points to seal his 100th win at the Australian Open 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8) in four hours and three minutes.

The 20-time grand slam champion prevailed despite hitting 82 unforced errors, 48 of them coming off the forehand side.

Asked about that number in his post-match media conference, Federer replied: "I mean, honestly, nothing against the statistics people, but over a four-hour match you're going to hit unforced errors.

"What is an unforced error? Is it when it comes at 120 [kilometres] an hour or 135 or you're on the stretch? So, for me, he pushed me to go for more.

"You know me – I'm not going to hold back and just rally all the time. I will always try to make plays, and for that, I will miss some.

"Of course, sometimes I wish I could have maybe hit a few more winners instead of unforced errors, but, you know, it shows how slow the courts can be, as well, you know, how many rallies get created, how he didn't serve and volley once.

"I served and volleyed maybe what, 10 times? Five times? It's that crazy at these moments. When you can come in and you play serve and volley and, you know, volley errors don't count I don't think ever, and rally errors always count. So, there you go."

Federer was effusive in his praise for Millman, who defeated the Swiss at the 2018 US Open.

"I just think he's just so, so tough from the baseline. He's got sort of good speed on the backhand, on the forehand," added Federer when asked why Millman is such a tough opponent.

"The way he hits it makes it, for me, unsure if I should pull the trigger or I shouldn't. Is it there to be hit or not? Every time I get a ball, I'm in two ways, because I have the option to do that with my game, but then he covers the court very well.

"Because he hits it hard enough, maybe it's harder for me to find [an] angle. I think the biggest problem for me was just I wasn't able to get… I was not returning poorly, per se; I was just not getting into those neutral rallies, finding the ways to unlock him.

"That's his credit. He's a great player. He's got great attitude, and that's why I mumbled something to him at the net just saying, 'I have so much respect for you, and it's such a pity, I'm so sorry, but well played', and all that stuff, because I really feel that way for John."

Related items

  • Tsitsipas puts slow start to 2020 behind him and clinches second Marseille title Tsitsipas puts slow start to 2020 behind him and clinches second Marseille title

    Stefanos Tsitsipas sealed a stunning defence of his Open 13 Marseille title as he crushed the hopes of Felix Auger-Aliassime.

    The brilliant Greek has endured a rocky start to 2020 but put a run of early-tournament defeats behind him with another success in the south of France, beating Canadian Auger-Aliassime 6-3 6-4 in the final.

    It means that for the second yet in a row, Tsitsipas has run through the Marseille draw without dropping a set, while for Auger-Aliassime the wait for a first ATP singles trophy goes on.

    This setback makes it five defeats in five finals for the 19-year-old Canadian, including a loss to Gael Monfils in Rotterdam last weekend.

    Tsitsipas was highly impressive and the 21-year-old roared in delight when Auger-Aliassime ripped a forehand over the baseline on match point.

    The trophy presentation became a charming love-in between two of the stars of the new generation in the men's game.

    Addressing Auger-Aliassime, who held a 2-1 lead in their head-to-head before this clash, Tsitsipas said: "It's great to be fighting on the court against you.

    "I feel like you make me a better a player. And I hope I make you that too.

    "I would like to congratulate you on a great week. Someone had to win the title - it was a very close match.

    "I've been following you, even when you've not been playing the same tournaments as me.

    "Keep putting in the extra work and I'm sure you can achieve a lot of things in the future which will be very good for our sport and for the younger generations."

    It was a fifth tour title for Tsitsipas, and it seems only a matter of time before Auger-Aliassime begins carrying off the big trophies.

    These two could contest many more finals in the years ahead.

    Auger-Aliassime said: "We've known each other since juniors. It's getting tougher and tougher to play you - we're equal now - two wins each - so it's a great rivalry and a great fight every time against you, but congrats for this one."

  • Mager continues Rio run, Nishioka into Delray Beach final as rain wreaks havoc Mager continues Rio run, Nishioka into Delray Beach final as rain wreaks havoc

    Gianluca Mager upset Dominic Thiem and then moved within reach of a maiden ATP Tour final as rain continued to impact the Rio Open.

    Down a set when forced off on Friday, top seed Thiem failed to stave off a quarter-final loss once play resumed on Saturday.

    Italian qualifier Mager turned his overnight advantage into a 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 victory before again taking to the court later in the day for his semi-final.

    The 25-year-old's opponent, lucky loser Attila Balazs, earlier beat Pedro Martinez 2-6 6-4 6-2 but was left clinging onto a place in the tournament when the rain returned, the Hungarian trailing 7-6 (7-4) 3-3 against Mager.

    The winner will likely face Cristian Garin in the final after the Chilean third seed opened up a 6-4 4-4 lead over Borna Coric in the other postponed semi-final.

    Poor conditions also interrupted the Delray Beach Open, where Milos Raonic was unable to get underway against Reilly Opelka.

    The big servers had their semi-final rescheduled for Sunday and will compete for a spot in the decider against Yoshihito Nishioka, who battled from a set down to defeat Ugo Humbert 1-6 6-4 6-0.

    Nishioka has reached the final despite dropping the opener in three of his four matches at the ATP 250 event.

    "After the first set I just figured out how to play against him and just kept trying to do it and then it worked," he said, as quoted by the ATP Tour.

    "If I lose the first set it's okay, I just figure out how he's going to play, how I have to play against him and then from the second set I say, 'Okay, let's do it this way.'"

  • Tsitsipas to defend Marseille title against Auger-Aliassime in final Tsitsipas to defend Marseille title against Auger-Aliassime in final

    Felix Auger-Aliassime is into a second successive ATP Tour final after seeing off Gilles Simon in straight sets in the Open 13 Marseille semi-final and he will face defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas for the title.

    Second seed Tsitsipas was in impressive form as he dispatched Alexander Bublik in the day's first match, running out 7-5 6-3 victor to reach the final of the tournament for a second year in a row.

    The Greek continued his run of not dropping a set at the competition since a first-round defeat to Nicolas Mahut two years ago, racking up a 14th successive win in Marseille.

    Tsitsipas was particularly devastating on his own serve in the second set, dropping just a single point, and he was delighted to be able to keep Bublik under control.

    "I tried to stay in the match as much as possible and play each point individually," he said, according to quotes on the ATP Tour website. "I know he can be [Bublik] quite unexpected.

    "You don't know what to expect. I didn't know what to expect from today's opponent. I am really happy with myself that I found a balance and I didn't panic when things got tight.

    "That is a great attitude that I put out on the court. It keeps getting better and better."

    Auger-Aliassime will be hoping to go one better than he did in Rotterdam last week, having lost in the final of that event to Gael Monfils.

    The Canadian did not have it all his own way against Simon, who eliminated top second Daniil Medvedev in the last round, but Auger-Aliassime showed admirable resilience to claim a double break in the first set after losing his own serve early on.

    Simon took the second set to a tie-break, but he rarely appeared to be in the conversation at that stage, with Auger-Aliassime eventually winning 7-5 7-6 (7-2).

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.