Roger Federer is heaping the blame for his shocking fourth round defeat by 55th ranked Australian John Millman to the humid conditions at the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday night.
He said he never found a way to disrupt the resilient Millman, who is 29 years old.
After racing to win the first set, Federer had set points in the second and third sets but couldn’t convert. He shortened points, serving and volleying and mixing in drop shots. But Millman, who was playing in his first Grand Slam fourth-rounder, swung freely for the biggest win of his career.
“It was very hot tonight. Was just one of those nights where I guess I felt I couldn’t get air. There was no circulation at all. I don’t know, for some reason I just struggled in the conditions tonight. It’s one of the first times it’s happened to me,” Federer said.
“But 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, look, at some point also I was just happy that the match was over, I guess.”
Before late Monday’s stunning defeat, Federer had been 40-0 against players ranked outside Top 50 at the US Open.
The 37-year-old Swiss had made 12 of the past 13 US Open quarterfinals, with the only miss coming in 2013 when he fell to Spain’s Robredo.
Millman also brought Federer down. The 29-year-old Aussie halted Roger Federer’s hopes for a sixth US Open title upsetting the five-time champion 3-6, 7-5, 7-6, 7-6 in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
He also ended Federer’s winning streak against players outside Top 50 and snapped his own 10-match losing streak against Top 10 players (0-10 overall).
“I’m probably in a little bit of disbelief. I have so much respect for Roger and everything he’s done for the game. He’s been a hero of mine. And today he was definitely not at his best, but I’ll take it,” Millman said.