Office worker Millman fulfils dream on court

John Millman will face world No. 2 Andy Murray today in the third round at Wimbledon.
John Millman will face world No. 2 Andy Murray today in the third round at Wimbledon.

LONDON • Australia's John Millman has traded in his smart suit and the world of finance for a shot at former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.

The world No. 67 is up against the British second seed in the third round today at the All England Club - a world away from the misery of an injury that forced him to seek work in a friend's finance firm while he rebuilt his tennis career.

Millman, who normally doles out drinks to the handful of fans who cheer him on, will have his work cut out to keep up the tradition today.

He is certain to play on either Centre Court or the secondary 11,000-seater Court One - both arenas he has never even set foot on.

"You dream of playing on the biggest courts against the biggest players," said the 27-year-old from Brisbane. "I feel as if I deserve to be there. And third round in Wimbledon, it's uncharted territory for me. I have never been one to go out with an intimidated mindset before I play. I'm going to give it everything."

The Queenslander, who is now on a career high, required shoulder surgery in 2013, which saw him trade in the tennis shorts for some sharper attire.

"I worked in the city for a little bit at one of my mate's companies. I was dressed up in a suit each day," he said. "Then I'd go and do a little bit of rehab. It's a slow process.

"I really have an appreciation of these moments right now because there was a big time there where I wasn't too confident.

"I know that tennis can change pretty quickly, and I know you're one big injury away from being back at university."

Now playing his seventh Grand Slam tournament, Millman's habit of raiding the players' free cold drinks to give to supporters might have to change come today.

"I do it at most tournaments. Here it's so overcast that you have to hand out coffee or something," he said.

Millman's place at the Rio Olympics was confirmed on Thursday, with Australia's top players Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic failing to make the plane due to well-documented behavioural issues and fall-outs with the authorities.

But Millman knows he is going to Brazil on merit thanks to his ranking.

"It's the greatest honour to play at the Olympic Games and represent your country. I'm pumped," he said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2016, with the headline 'Office worker Millman fulfils dream on court'. Print Edition | Subscribe