Bizarre exchange at US Open quarter-final as Millman walks off court
— FOX SPORTS Australia (@FOXSportsAUS) September 6, 2018
It was another hot and humid night on the Arthur Ashe court. Just two days after Millman beat Roger Federer, John returned to face Djokovic.
An apologetic Millman halted play in the second set of their quarterfinal match to ask the 13-time grand slam winner if he could go to the changing room and change his tight shorts.
The humidity proved to be too much causing his clothes to stick to him due to perspiration. Djokovic approved the request and took the opportunity to take a ‘little rest’. The umpire then announced,
“Ladies and gentleman, due to humid conditions, Millman is going to change his attire.”
John Millman walked off the court to change and returned around six minutes later to resume play. As the commentators noted, this was an unusual break– one that they’d never witnessed before. They even called the match a “sweat-a-thon”. Typically, players are only allowed to leave between sets to change what they’re wearing.
The USTA released a statement explaining the strange set of events, and how it was not a violation due to the risk of injury caused by excessive sweat.
“John Millman approached the chair umpire to note his excessive sweating and the moisture it was leaving on the court. The umpire determined that the surface was dangerous enough to invoke the ‘Equipment out of Adjustment’ rule in the ITF Duties and Procedures of officials.”
Millman’s 6-minute wardrobe change may very well have granted Djokovic the rest he needed to claim his victory 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. The Australian, however, can undoubtedly be proud of his work here, his finest year on the ATP tour coupled with his strongest major performance.
“I was really tested,” Djokovic said. “Credit to John, he put up a great battle. He’s had an amazing tournament and to come out and fight for three hours he deserves a round of applause.
“We were both struggling and trying to hang in there. There was a lot of sweating but you just need to survive. They weren’t easy conditions but it’s the same for both players.
“He apologised for going to change [clothes] in the second set but I said ‘it’s OK, I need the rest’. John is never going to hand you the win.”