Thursday afternoon at Melbourne Park was the last stand in singles for John Millman, the Australian stalwart’s lengthy career cut short before he could secure a grand slam main draw farewell with a 6-4, 6-3 loss to Alex Molcan in the second round of Australian Open qualifying. While the tone around Court 3 was one of thanks for a great career as Millman bowed out with typical good grace, thanking the supporters and his own team while praising Molcan’s performance, the reaction on social media was of a very different nature. Despite announcing before the summer of tennis had begun that it was going to be his swansong, Tennis Australia controversially chose not to award the 34-year old a wildcard entry into the main draw. Millman’s protected ranking after a series of injuries in 2023 saw him fall outside the top 400 only allowed him to enter for the qualifying tournament, forcing him to need to win three games to so much as reach the last 128. While criticism of the decision was muted while the veteran’s dream stayed alive, things came to a head after his loss to Molcan, with a post on X by the Australian Open’s official platform copping both barrels. Scandalous that you didn't give him a main draw wild card on his last ever event of his career. A great servant and stalwart of Australian Tennis.— Pavvy G (@pavyg) January 11, 2024 Very disappointing that he didn’t get a WC for his home slam which is his last ever tournament too. @AustralianOpen do better.— James Cockman (@james_cockman) January 11, 2024 Said it for months! Poor form not giving him a main draw wildcard! @CraigTiley @TennisAustralia— Tyson Thompson (@thompsontk85) January 11, 2024 Couldn't believe my eyes when I saw his name in the qualifying draw. He deserved better and the fans deserved better— Fraser (@FraseSmith7) January 11, 2024 Absolutely criminal that John Millman wasn’t offered an #AusOpen wildcard. ATP title winner in 2020, Davis Cup semi-finalist and who could forget that famous win over Roger Federer to reach the 2018 US Open quarter-final.A stalwart of Aussie tennis.Great career Millmania ????????— Jack Molloy (@jackmolloy94) January 11, 2024 Absolutely disgusting that such a memourable tournament did not give him a Wild Card. Millman worked all his live for him, for tennis, and for you, Australia. You did not have the enough dignity to let him retire in front of their people. Shame.— Aarón #LaReconquista (@aaronlpz14) January 11, 2024 John Millman at 34 years old has just played his last ever match as a pro. One of the nicest players on tour, a great servant and stalwart of Australian Tennis, got to a career high of 33.Absolutely scandalous that he was not given a main draw Wild Card to play @AustralianOpen— Pavvy G (@pavyg) January 11, 2024 Absolutely scandalous that Australian stalwart John Millman wasn't given a wild card to the main draw of the @AustralianOpen on his last ever event before retirement.This was only because John has no issues in speaking his mind and that doesn't please some of the establishment.— Pavvy G (@pavyg) January 10, 2024 John Millman ???????? out of Australian Open Qualifying as he loses to Molcan ???????? 4-6 3-6 Shame he had to try and qualify after all he has done for Australian Tennis Good Luck in the future in everything you do @millman— Chris Goldsmith (@TheTennisTalker) January 11, 2024 The Millman controversy adds to what has been among the more widely criticised set of wildcards of tournament director Craig Tiley’s tenure, with the top-ranked Australian woman Arina Rodionova slamming TA after her own snub. As is standard practice, eight wildcard spots were offered for direct entry into the main draw for players who would not otherwise qualify, with five Australian men – James McCabe, Marc Polmans, Adam Walton, Jason Kubler and James Duckworth – instead getting the nod. More Tennis ‘Stupid comment’: Kyrgios blasts Aussie tennis icon for after criticism of ‘out of control’ Aus Open crowds ‘Absolute disgrace’: Fans launch at TA over ‘scandalous’ call to deny Millman AO wildcard after qualifying loss The 10 greatest Australian Open controversies: ‘No-Vaxx’ scandal, McEnroe default and Margaret Court protests ‘Bit of a battler’ Millman fights tears in emotional final tribute after bowing out in AO qualifying ‘Feels so good’: Daria Saville’s Hobart title dream alive after hard-fought win to book SF berth Tennis Tennis Australia also has an arrangement with the French and United States tennis boards where each grants wildcard spots to the other two nations at their respective home grand slams. Millman received a wildcard into the 2023 Australian Open, but one was not forthcoming in 2024 – though in typical Millman fashion, he only responded to Rodionova’s snub, saying on the ABC Tennis podcast he was ‘baffled’ by her being overlooked. Following Rodionova’s strong criticism after her own qualifying loss, where she claimed that she was ‘not liked’ by the sporting body, Tiley claimed the decision was nothing personal. John Millman’s Australian Open qualifying loss was the last of his 18-year career. (Photo: Chris Putnam/Future Publishing via Getty Images) “There’s lots of things that go into consideration [for a wildcard]: the age, the form coming in, how many matches they’ve played and what they’ve done over the last 12 months, who they compare to,” he said on Monday. Millman bows out with the distinction of being the only Australian to defeat tennis icon Roger Federer in a grand slam singles draw in the 21st century, with a stunning triumph in sweltering conditions in the fourth round of the 2018 US Open. That win would grant the journeyman his first and only grand slam quarter-final appearance, where he lost in straight sets to Novak Djokovic. He came agonisingly close to an even greater victory over Federer in the third round of the 2020 Australian Open, when he led the deciding best of 10 match tie-break 8-4 only for the Swiss maestro to pull it out of the fire. Speaking after his final match, Millman admitted he’d have preferred to have secured his finest win on home soil rather than at Flushing Meadows. “I would have loved to reverse it and actually beaten him [Federer] here at the Australian Open when I lost in five,” he said. “But there’s been plenty of highs. That’s probably not the highlight of my career. Sports opinion delivered daily      function edmWidgetSignupEvent() window.roarAnalytics.customEvent( category: ‘EDM’, action: ‘EDM Signup’, label: `Shortcode Widget`, ); “Any time I could dress up in the green and gold in the Davis Cup in particular and Olympic Games, those are the moments that I really enjoyed, and they’re the ones that will probably stick with me.”

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