Roger Federer is particularly relieved after his escape in the third round of the Australian Open. The 38-year-old Swiss settled on Friday after more than four hours of play in Melbourne last year with the Australian John Millman, who was introduced last year.
"It was tough. Thank goodness it was a super tie break, otherwise I would have lost this game", Federer referred to the new set-up at the Australian Open of the decisive tie break in the fifth set, with the winner having to capture ten points instead of seven points in a regular tiebreak.
Until 2018, players with two games had to win a difference to be sure of the next round. To prevent the races from ending in marathon games, the organization decided to introduce a supertie break.
In the decisive aftermath, Millman ran out to an 8-4 lead, which was enough in a regular tiebreak to pull the win over the line. Federer rose again and captured the following six points: 8-10.
"John played a great game. I got lucky at the end. He made the right decisions at the start of the supertie break. I thought: okay, I played too badly and was ready to explain it at the press conference. Yes, those demons are always there. "
"I also wondered why I had not decided this game before. But then I turn everything over in two minutes and then everything is completely worth it. I play tennis to win titles and to have fun, but also for "These are epic games like that. They don't always have to be finals. I'm glad I played this game. I would have been if I had lost."
Roger Federer thanks John Millman afterwards to the net for the 'epic' competition. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Federer is not concerned about the burden of error
Federer dealt with unnecessary errors in his match against Millman. The Swiss came to no less than 82 so-called 'unforced errors', while Millman unnecessarily wasted 48 points on the twenty-fold Grand Slam winner.
Federer himself did not want to know anything about the criticism of the number of unnecessary errors. "In a four-hour game you always make unnecessary mistakes. But what is an unnecessary mistake? He put me under pressure and forced me to do more. I sometimes miss balls, sometimes I wish I hit more winners than mistakes."
Federer will play again for the fourth round of the Australian Open on Sunday. The seven-time winner of the first Grand Slam of the year competes against the Hungarian Márton Fucsovics in the last sixteen.