Roger Federer has revealed he was contemplating what he would say to the media when he was down 4-8 in the super tie-break in the deciding set against John Millman, consigned to losing the match.
Were it an ordinary tie-break where the winner must reach seven points, while also being two points clear of their opponent, the 38-year-old would’ve already been headed for the locker room.
The quirk worked in Federer’s favour, as he went on to win the next six points.
“Thank God it is a super tie-breaker otherwise I would have lost this one,” Federer said after the 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4, 4-6, 7 (10)-6(8) victory.
“ Where do I start? I think John played a great match. He might as well have been a hero in the match.
“It came down to the wire at the end. A bit of luck, maybe. You know, go one way. Oh, I had to stay so focused, take the right decision.
“He was doing all that stuff at the beginning of the break. He kept on coming up with the goods and I thought, ‘OK, I guess I tried. I didn’t play too bad after all.’
“I was getting ready to explain myself in the press conference. The demons are always there, they were lurking.”
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Millman was hoping to repeat his heroics at the US Open when he ousted Federer in the most unlikely of upsets.
While lightning didn’t strike twice, Federer acknowledged the match really could’ve gone either way.
“I thought John did a great job of keeping me on my back foot,” Federer said.
“It was tough.
“It was really John who made it so difficult for me tonight.”