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Much loved Australian John Millman’s tennis career will continue for at least another match after an opening-round doubles win with first-time partner Edward Winter.


The odd couple Millman and Winter, who is 15 years Millman’s junior, were gifted a wildcard into the main draw after Millman was overlooked for the singles having received a wildcard in 2023.


After falling in the second round of singles qualifying, the doubles draw represents Millman’s final hurrah as a professional tennis player. 


Playing before a jam-packed court 6 crown, the Aussie pair defeated experienced doubles specialists Marcus Daniel from New Zealand and Brazilian Marcelo Demoliner 6-7(3), 6-2, 7-6(12) in a see-sawing contest. 


Ever the gentleman, Millman cheerfully celebrated with fans in the immediate aftermath of the win which included signing autographs, taking selfies, and chatting to some of his more vocal courtside supporters. 


This year is Millman’s fourteenth appearance at Melbourne Park dating back to 2009 when he first played in the qualifying draw.  Yet, whether Millman would make this year’s event was unknown with speculation running rife last January that Millman would quietly step into retirement. 


Millman however, candidly revealed he simply wanted his play in front of his family one last time.


“I just wanted Mum and Dad to be able to watch me one more time,” he said while sitting down exclusively with The First Serve.   “That was literally it.  And they got to do that in qualifying.”


Asked whether the finality of his career dawned upon him during two separate rain delays while serving at 3-4 in the final set, Millman suggested he was taking a more positive approach.


“I’m very relaxed with the doubles,” Millman said.


“I haven’t played much doubles in my career as I’ve predominately been a singles player so I was super relaxed.  [My coach] and I were chewing the fat and just watching some of the tennis.”


Renowned for his work ethic and respected for his ability to squeeze every last drop out of his career, Millman said he did not want his career to end on a sour note after an injury-plagued final few years that heavily restricted his ability to take to the court.


“I genuinely tried to get myself in as good shape as possible” he admitted.


“I did take the pre-season really seriously,  I wanted to at least have memories of myself playing some decent tennis to finish off my career. I’ve always been quite professional so I wanted to finish off professionally as well.”


It is that dedication and professionalism that Millman hopes has been passed on to the younger crop of Australian tennis players during his career.


“It’s been really important to me to try to pass on my values” Millman declared.


“I try to lead by example and if that creates a positive impact on people that’s great. 


“I’ve tried to help out some of the younger Aussies. Sometimes they listen and sometimes they don’t but that’s fine. Hopefully, I’ve left a lasting impression on a few of them and helped them along their career path as I was helped along mine.”


Although his doubles campaign continues with Millman and Winter facing second seeds Matt Ebden and Rohan Bopanna in the second round, the Queenslander expressed a sense of fulfillment as he reflected on his sixteen-year professional career.   


“I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved” the former world number 33 confessed.  “I’m also very aware of all the people who have got me to where I am.”


“Everyone has played a really big part in my career and I think that’s a really nice thing.  It's humbling that a lot of people sacrificed a lot of things to get me to the position I was in.

“I’m really content.  It’s been a long journey for me but I genuinely think I’ve left everything out there on court and that makes me feel content.”


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