Tennis

Millman wants tennis summer certainty

Quarantined Aussie tennis ace John Millman has called for an immediate confirmation of the summer schedule to settle the nerves of anxious players.

Millman, the world number 38, arrived in Sydney in the early hours of Tuesday morning after a four-month stint abroad that included his maiden ATP Tour tournament victory at the Astana Open in Kazakhstan.

The 31-year-old Queenslander is now spending a two-week quarantine period in a Sydney hotel with his partner ahead of a return home to Brisbane at the start of next month.

He will hit the practice courts hard in December before flying to Melbourne after Christmas for the revamped summer of tennis which is set to o take place entirely in Victoria – if approved by that state’s government – because of COVID-19 enforced border restrictions.

But the January 18-31 Australian Open at Melbourne Park, let alone other potential tournaments, have not yet been confirmed after Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said nothing had been settled on.

“I do stress that we do have to get a few definitive answers as to whether it can go ahead,” Millman said.

“It’s really tough to get flights right now – international flights are so hard to get.

“The players are really hungry for a little bit more information, and I know Tennis Australia’s doing everything they can, but also from the governments because everyone’s a little bit anxious.

“The season is just around the corner, and we know how quickly the off-season goes. With tennis we only get about four weeks, and then we really have to make our arrangements to get here to Australia.

“Time is of the essence. In the next week we’d really have to start getting some answers because the players are desperate to start booking their travel arrangements to get here.
“It’s not just about co-ordinating it for themselves, it’s about co-ordinating their teams’ travel also.

“It’s unrealistic to expect the players to come by themselves. A lot of them have teams over here and that takes a lot of co-ordination and effort.”

Thank you to everyone @AstanaOpen who made this tournament possible. You did a tremendous job. Incredibly happy to win my first ATP title in your tournament’s first edition. The Kazakhstan hospitality made this one very special. 🇰🇿 🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/vj4ww0bSRY

Millman said it was a shame the Brisbane leg of the ATP Cup would not be going ahead after the success of the event in the 2020 Cup played in Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales.

“I want to play in Brisbane, I want to play in my state, I love playing there – there’s no better place to play tennis,” he said.

“But I’m confident that (Tennis Australia CEO) Craig Tiley and his team can help in making it a little bit easier.

“Tennis Australia will create a safe environment not just for the players, but for the public as well.

“That’s got to be the priority that we’re not bringing the virus to Australia. We can have the event and it’s a really important event to have.”

John Millman at this year’s US Open in September. Picture: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFPSource:AFP

While two weeks confined to a hotel won’t be easy for a “fidgety” Millman, he said the short break was needed.

“It was a really long trip, not the time necessarily but being in a bubble, and the quarantine lifestyle every day for the last four months was challenging, probably mentally draining more than anything,” he said.

“It wasn’t the easiest season but if I can get through these two weeks then it’ll be nice to have a bit of freedom because I haven’t had that now for about four months … but winning my first title, it was all worthwhile.”

Millman, ranked 38 in the world, beat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 7-5 6-1 to win the Astana crown earlier this month.

“It was a real big goal for a while to win an ATP title. They’re not easy to win. I really wanted to tick that box before I stopped playing,” he said.

“Winning in this bubble lifestyle, it is more challenging, and mentally it’s really challenging, so to be able to perform well in those conditions, I was really happy with.”

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