Rafael Nadal recalls: ‘I stayed late to watch Roger Federer vs. John Millman’

In his last tournament before a break he had to take due to a knee injury, Roger Federer had to endure two thrilling Australian Open encounters en route to the semis in January 2020. In the third round, Roger battled against the home star John Milliman, who defeated the Swiss at the US Open 2018 and wanted another excellent result at Rod Laver Arena. Millman pushed the six-time Australian Open champion to the limits for over four hours, standing two points away from the win before Roger prevailed 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6. The Swiss took the last six points in the deciding match tie break to avoid an early exit and stay on the title course after one of the best encounters of the tournament.

The players threw everything they had at each other, with Federer hitting more winners and errors. Millman stayed in touch with the well-balanced game and a positive mindset, drawing the most from the crowd’s support and enjoying every moment on the court. Bouncing back from two sets to one down, John forced the decider and had a massive opportunity to seal the deal.

Rafael Nadal stayed up late and watched Roger Federer vs. Millman in Melbourne 2020.

The Aussie led 8-4 in the match tie break before Roger took charge, taking the following six points to erase the deficit and seal the deal in his 100th Australian Open victory. World no. 1 Rafael Nadal stayed up late and watched the match until the end, enjoying the fearsome battle between two great rivals and praising the efforts of both in an interview following his third-round victory over Pablo Carreno Busta on Saturday morning. 

“I stayed awake to watch Roger Federer and John Millman; it was impossible to miss the match like that. It was emotional in the end, and I enjoyed the battle. Millman is a fighter; it seems he never stops running. He was smiling for the entire encounter, with a positive mind and a great character on the court. I always want to think I have been improving because of my personal motivation and not because of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Still, when you have such strong opponents in front of you, the path is a bit cleaner, observing how good they are and what they are doing better than you, which makes you a better player as well,” Rafael Nadal said.

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