NEW YORK, NY — SEPTEMBER 01: John Millman of Australia celebrates a point during his men's singles third round match against Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan on Day Six of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 1, 2018 in the Flushing neighbourhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP == FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELE
NEW YORK, NY — SEPTEMBER 01: John Millman of Australia celebrates a point during his men's singles third round match against Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan on Day Six of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 1, 2018 in the Flushing neighbourhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP == FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELE

Millman earns US Open crack at Federer

AUSTRALIAN tennis battler John Millman has struck grand slam gold, booking a dream US Open date with Roger Federer and banking a cheque for $370,000 to boot.

"I will definitely go to the prize money desk and collect my cheque. That's for sure," Millman said after his life-changing 6-4 4-6 6-1 6-3 third-round triumph over Mikhail Kukushkin at Flushing Meadows.

But Millman doesn't play for the money.

The 29-year-old plays for love and now he's reaping the rewards. In addition to his first-time appearance in a grand slam second week, Millman will also crack the world's top 50 for the first time and earn a coveted place on Lleyton Hewitt's Davis Cup team for Australia's historic tie against Austria this month.

"If I had played tennis for the money, I would have quit a long, long time ago because I have come from the scraps just about on the tour," he said. "For me, it was more about being able to create that opportunity to put myself in a position where I am playing second week of a grand slam. That is very special."

It wasn't so long ago that Millman feared his injury-plagued career was over. "I've had three surgeries in my career, two shoulders and the last one a groin, and every time I've had extreme doubts if would get back," he said. "But I have a great team around me that pick me up when I feel sorry for myself. Without them, I wouldn't have this opportunity."

And what an opportunity it is: the great Federer on tennis's biggest stage after the Swiss denied Nick Kyrgios an all-Australian showdown with Millman with a 6-4 6-1 7-5 dispatch of the Canberran in a vintage display.

Millman spent several days training with Federer at the 20-times grand slam's Swiss base before Wimbledon and says he won't be overawed.

"I've got a lot of respect for Roger. He's got an aura about him. Definitely a player I've looked up to throughout my career," MIllman said. "But have never been a fan of playing anyone's reputation. When you go out on court, I think it's about engaging in a battle.

"I definitely won't be thinking about those things. I want to start off at love-all and not already being behind the eight ball and playing someone's reputation.

"If you do that, I think you can get bogged down and you're in a bit of trouble. "I will relish the opportunity."

 

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