John Millman celebrates his win over Ugo Humbert. Picture: Michael Klein
John Millman celebrates his win over Ugo Humbert. Picture: Michael Klein

‘The drunker, the better’: Millman’s call to arms

John Millman wants his Aussie fan base to pump up the volume.

While Stefanos Tsitsipas asked his supporters to calm down to avoid bringing a "football" mentality to tennis, Millman said he preferred a party atmosphere in the stands at Melbourne Park.

And the louder and rowdier it is, the more energy he feels.

Milman, 30, said the vocal support from the fans was crucial, helping lift him to a gritty four-set victory over highly-rated youngster Ugo Humbert on show court three.

"I love a vocal crowd. I like feeding off the crowd's energy, I need that," Millman said.

"I try to bring that physicality (in tense matches), and sometimes you need that little bit of motivation on the sidelines.

 

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"I love playing on that court, actually, on show Court 3. I have had some really good moments there.

"And, you know, the more rowdy they are, the drunker they are, the better."

Tsitsipas has divided opinion with his comments about his Greek fans' conduct, saying on Monday night the "distracting" behaviour "should stay in football".

But Millman said the Australian Open should be fun for fans.

"Look, the Australian Open, it's not just a tennis event now. It should be an entertainment event," Milman said.

"I think our organisers have done an incredible job to not just make it a tennis spectacle.

 

Lleyton (C) and Cruz Hewitt (R) cheer on Millman. Picture: AAP/Michael Dodge
Lleyton (C) and Cruz Hewitt (R) cheer on Millman. Picture: AAP/Michael Dodge

 

"And we are an entertainment business and we've got to get people from all walks of life through the gates and appreciating tennis and all the other things. "I love the support that I get here in Melbourne and makes the matches really memorable and worthwhile."

Aus Open 2020

World No. 48 Milman was under pressure early but turned the momentum his way late in the first set to help set up victory over the Auckland Open winner.

The triumph sets up a tough second-round encounter against 31st-seed Humbert Hurkacz.

Milman said he likes to create a physical "dogfight" in matches and test his opponent's mental strength.

 

John Millman loves the atmosphere on Court 3. Picture: Michael Klein
John Millman loves the atmosphere on Court 3. Picture: Michael Klein

 

He said winning an hour-long first set felt like an important "body blow" against the 21-year-old Frenchman Humbert, who battled blisters on his feet throughout the match.

"That's the type of tennis that, you know, I have built a brand on," Millman said.

"I try to bring physicality. I try to bring toughness, mental and physical toughness, when I go out there and play tennis. "I think people know that about me. They know that, you know, I'm not going to go away. And that's just my brand of tennis. "Look, I'd love to go out there and win super-quick points. That's just not how I'm built.

"And, you know, I think I can take a bit of pride in how I go about my business, too. I try to leave absolutely everything out there, win or lose."



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