Olympic Record for Millman
Published 7 August 2016 (AEDT)
Olympic debutant and Australia’s world number 75 ranked player John Millman created Olympic history at the Rio Olympic Tennis Centre in a day of mixed results for the Australian Team.
Millman, 27, became the first men’s singles player to win to love in Olympic history as he easily disposed of the higher ranked Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis (71) 6-0 6-0 acknowledging the role the march with the Australian Team into the Maracana Stadium played in setting the tone for his performance today.
“Today was my day; I played well, I was tight with my errors and didn’t give him a whole lot,” said Millman.
“I thought I played extremely smart and unfortunately for Ricardas he had an off day. It happens sometimes.
“I’ve never played representing my country and that was a special moment, one of the biggest highlights of my career.”
When told of the Olympic record, Millman was in disbelief.
“To play in the Olympic Games is special, to be in the record books is ridiculous,” he remarked.
“I never even thought I’d be playing at the Olympic Games - it has been well documented that I have had a few shoulder surgeries and what not but it’s a great feeling. To play for your country at the Olympics Games is as good as it gets.
“I actually marched last night and I was in and out and in bed by 10.15. I couldn’t miss the march and that was a really stirring moment for me.
“It’s very hard to explain the emotions you got walking into that stadium and I’ve got no doubt that carried over today. I was extremely proud and pumped up from the word go and to have the people watching me and the Australian people watching me probably could see that they just knew I was ready to go.”
Millman was the only singles victor today for Australia with fellow Olympic debutants Jordan Thompson and Thanasi Kokinannis going down in close contests.
Thompson, 22, fought hard against Kyle Edmund (GBR) but was unable to match his power losing 4-6 2-6.
“Today was disappointing, but he is a good player - he has a big serve, a big forehand and he is well inside the top 100,” said Thompson.
“This Olympic experience has been special. It is unbelievable to represent your country to come to Rio to play in the Olympics is something special,” he added.
“It is awesome to mix it with the best athletes; it has given me great motivation”.
Kokinakkis, in his first match back after a 10-month layoff due to shoulder surgery, had chances to win the game but was narrowly defeated 6-7 6-7.
“It was very frustrating, I put myself in a lot of positions to win that match,” said Kokinakkis.
“I had two set points, one of them I hit an ace and she called a let which both of us didn’t hear. The second one he hit a return long which no one called, it was well long you could see the mark. I wish we had Hawk-Eye and I would have one that set.
“In the second set I didn’t play with much energy and I probably should have lost it easier but I found a way to break back and I felt that as soon as I raised my level I was winning all the points but I just couldn’t sustain it.
“I was hoping the match went through without any injury to the shoulder so that was a bonus, now I just need to get a lot of court time in because once I do that I feel like my game is there but on the big points I wasn’t quite good enough.”
In the men’s doubles John Peers and Chris Guccione battled the Argentinean pairing of Juan Martin Del Potro and Maximo Gonzalez and their parochial fans going down 4-6, 5-7.
In the women’s doubles Samantha Stosur and Daria Gavrilova gave world number one doubles player Martina Hingis and her partner Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland some headaches in a tight three set match, going down swinging 4-6 6-4 2-6.
Sisters Anastasia and Arina Rodionova were defeated 1-6 2-6 by the Russian number seven seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.
Day 2 will see Stosur and Gavrilova play their opening singles matches against Jelena Ostapenko and Serena Williams respectively whilst Sam Groth makes his Olympic debut in the men’s singles against the eighth seed David Goffin of Belgium.