The Australian Open is less than 48 hours away, but there’s already plenty of drama unfolding.
Plus Australia’s top player speaks on the ball saga turning heads.
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De Minaur gears up for Milo Raonic clash | 01:10
John Millman’s singles career has come to an end in Australian Open qualifying, leaving some perplexed as to why he didn’t receive a wildcard.
The former world No.33 bowed out in straight sets to world No.118 Alex Molcan in the second round of qualifying on Thursday, playing on Court 3 at Melbourne Park.
A former US Open quarterfinalist, Millman’s career spanned more than 15 years, with the 34-year-old’s grit a staple of his time in the game.
Millman acknowledged the hard road he’d taken throughout his career when he spoke after the loss.
“It might not seem like much to bow out in qualifying, but it means a lot,” Millman said.
“I was never the biggest guy or the biggest hitter. I needed every bit of energy and they (supporters) came in their droves always, even in qualifying.
“I had a lot of people who didn’t think I’d eventuate to much, I stuck at it.
“The ones who did think I would are probably all over there (in the player box).”
Given Millman’s contribution to Australian tennis, some were left miffed as to why he didn’t receive a wildcard at his home slam in what was his final tournament.
It wasn’t the only wildcard omission to ruffle feathers, with Australia’s top ranked woman, Arina Rodionova, also overlooked.
Rodionova lost in the opening round of qualifying and took aim at Tennis Australia in the aftermath.
“The only regret I have from today is I think I gave Tennis Australia something to celebrate … I think they’re very pleased with my result today, and that’s what makes me upset,” she said.
“I did everything I could to possibly deserve (a wildcard) … absolutely (it feels personal). It started years and years ago, and there were so many incidents that happened between myself and people in charge.
“It is very clear to me that I am not liked, and it’s not just clear to me, it’s clear to every single Australian tennis player.”
Musetti ends Thompson’s Adelaide run | 01:23
DEMON’S AUS OPEN ADMISSION
Australia’s top-ranked tennis player Alex de Minaur agrees there should be more consistency with balls throughout the season, as debate continues to unfold ahead of the Australian Open.
Several of the game’s top players have urged the ATP to shift towards more consistency with balls, with constant changes between tournaments leading some to believe it’s the cause of injury.
Nick Kyrgios recently suggested the changing of balls had contributed to a wrist complaint for world No. 1 and defending Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic.
“I completely agree there should be more consistency with balls. We have a long year, we play a lot of tournaments, travel all around the world on different surfaces,” De Minaur said this week at ASICS to launch his new Solution Speed FF3 shoes.
“It would be nice to have some consistency when it comes to balls, just for the players themselves to get used to conditions and their body maybe not suffer as much.”
This year’s Dunlop balls for the Australian Open have also caused a stir, with some observing the balls lose their speed and fluff up well before they’re due to be changed to a new set.
De Minaur said the ball could create some interesting moments throughout this year’s event.
“I think there’s a big change from the very last game of the old balls to the new balls. I think it’s a massive change,” he said.
“Ultimately those last games with the old balls you’ve got to tough it out a little bit maybe on serve and then all of a sudden you’ve got the new balls which play totally different.
“I think there’s a span there of maybe three to four games where a lot of the match can change.
“You’ve got to be ready for that and hopefully when those new balls come in you’re ready and you play a decent enough game to break your opponent.”