Roger Federer considers himself lucky after admitting that there were times when he did not expect to win his thriller against John Millman at the Australian Open.
Federer advanced to the fourth round after defeating Millman in a five-set blockbuster, 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8).
But Federer made a surprising admission in his post-match interview with Jim Courier that he was preparing to explain what went wrong.
In the fifth set, Millman had a break leading 2-1.
After Federer stepped back and the game finally became a super tiebreaker, the Australian achieved an 8-4 lead and seemed ready for an epic surprise at No.3 in the world.
However, Federer’s class was in full display when he stepped forward and scored six consecutive points to eliminate the game.
In court talking after his victory, Federer said it should have been Millman talking to Courier at the end of the night.
“It was difficult, thank God it was a super tiebreaker, otherwise I would have lost,” Federer said.
“John played a great game, he could have been here doing this interview.
“He is a great fighter and a good guy.”
“I reached the cable at the end, maybe a little lucky.
Federer takes the third set against Millman
“I had to stay focused and make the right decisions, and he was doing all that at the beginning of the super tiebreaker.”
“I kept inventing products, and I thought, ‘Okay, I guess I tried.’ In general, I didn’t play so badly and was preparing to explain myself at the press conference.”
Although he won the game, Federer was clearly not at his best, producing 82 unforced errors compared to only 48 of Millman.
The Swiss star admitted that he never felt comfortable in the game, stating that Millman stepped forward despite not being known as a dominant ball server.
“I had to find out how to get him into trouble with his serve.
“It’s not known to be the best server. It has a good service, but it’s not like the tall guys that come super fast.”
“But I was doing a good job by not making many mistakes.”
“I was struggling with the right-hand and reverse blows, he dominated on both sides.”
“I never really felt comfortable. I thought John did a great job of keeping me on my foot that I couldn’t always intervene, until the last shot, I did it and he chose the wrong side.”
“It was difficult, I don’t know what to say, it was really John who made it so difficult for me tonight.”