The 20-time Major champion Roger Federer did not play too many matches over the past two years. One of the most thrilling ones came at the last year's Australian Open when he stayed on the court for four hours and three minutes on Rod Laver Arena against John Millman, beating the opponent 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6.
The Aussie toppled the Swiss at the 2018 US Open and was a couple of points from doing that at another Major, leading 8-4 in the match tie break before Federer claimed the last six points to prevail and celebrate the 100th Australian Open win.
Making too many unforced errors, Roger could not shift into a higher gear and make the decisive move towards the victory, having to dig deep in the closing minutes to repel John's charge and cross the finish line first.
Struggling with his groundstrokes, Federer had to focus on his serve while trying to find a solution on the return and create more chances that would have made a more relaxed day at the office for him. Roger praised the crowd that cheered for both players, thanking them all as he knew there was a home player on the other side of the net who also deserved to score a win after such a tremendous fighting spirit.
Roger Federer battled against John Millman four over four hours in Melbourne.
"I had to figure out how to get him in trouble on his serve. John is not known to be the best server; he has a good serve, but not like the tall guys.
He was doing such a nice job of not making many mistakes while I struggled with crosscourt shots from both wings. For me, it was a matter of holding my serve and giving myself time and chances to figure out what to do on the return.
It was essential to win that second set and move in front in the third; I never felt comfortable, and John did his best to keep me on my back foot, not allowing me to step in until that last shot when he picked the wrong side.
John made it difficult for me tonight. It was nice to see a split crowd; John deserves all the support after such a great comeback from injuries, and the fans gave me more than they had to. I appreciate those who came for the first time and those who are always with me, and it was all good if they were cheering for John as well," Roger Federer said.