Federer: "I couldn't get any air and struggled to breathe"

Five-time former champion Roger Federer said that the hot and humid conditions at the US Open got the better of him on Monday night, but he was also full of praise for John Millman after the Australian’s fourth-round victory.

“I just thought it was very hot tonight,” said Federer, who lost 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (3) on Arthur Ashe Stadium. “It was just one of those nights where I guess I felt I couldn't get any air. There was no air circulation at all. For some reason I just struggled in the conditions tonight. It's one of the first times it's happened to me.

“I do believe since the roof is on that there is no air circulation in the stadium. I think just that makes it a totally different US Open. Plus conditions maybe were playing slower this year on top of it. You have soaking wet pants, soaking wet everything.

“John was able to deal with it better. He maybe comes from one of the most humid places on earth, Brisbane. I knew I was in for a tough one. Maybe when you feel like that, as well, you start missing chances, and I had those. That was disappointing. But at some point, also, I was just happy that the match was over.”

The Swiss superstar suffered his earliest exit at a Grand Slam championship since a third-round loss at the 2015 Australian Open (l. to Seppi). “I've trained in tougher conditions,” said Federer. “I've played in the daytime at 120º F. Some days it's just not the day where the body can cope with it.”

Millman booked a place in his first major quarter-final by breaking a 10-match losing streak against Top 10 players in the ATP Rankings (now 1-10 lifetime). Federer had led 6-3, 5-4, 40/15 on his serve, but he was unable to convert two set points. Millman will now prepare to meet two-time former US Open champion Novak Djokovic on Wednesday.

“I thought the match was tough, said Federer. "I wish I could have led two sets to love and then maybe the match would be different and I would find a way. Because I did have my chances all the way till the end. It was just tough. I thought John played a great match in difficult conditions.

“I love his intensity,” added Federer, who had trained with 29-year-old Millman for a few days ahead of the grass-court swing in June. “He reminds me of David Ferrer and those other guys that I admire a lot when I see them; when I see how they train and the passion they have for the game.

“He's got a positive demeanour about himself on and off the court. I think he's got a great backhand that he can protect very well down the line and cross-court. When you attack there in the wrong way, he will punish you every time for it. He has options, now especially where it's a bit slower, to return in and return back. I think against Novak, he just has to bring it again and try to worry Novak.”

Date: 4 September 2018, Source: ATP and AFP


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