John Millman has been knocked out of the ATP Munich tournament by a qualifier, ending the Australian men’s interest in the week’s clay-court fare around Europe.
If Alex de Minaur’s brilliant run to the semi-finals of the Madrid Open last week had inspired his compatriots in the run-up to the French Open, it hasn’t been obvious over the past couple of days with the Australian men all succumbing quickly in warm-up events in Portugal and Germany.
Millman, who’d enjoyed an encouraging victory over the returning 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem on the way to the last-16 in Belgrade last week, roared back from 4-2 down to take the opening set against Belarusian qualifier Egor Gerisamov with four straight games on Wednesday.
From then on, though, the powerful serve of the world No.150 Gerasimov – 71 places below the Queenslander in the ATP rankings – kept the Belarusian well in control of the match, as he broke Millman five times over the last two sets to prevail 4-6 6-2 6-2.
It was a setback for the 32-year-old Millman, now down to No.4 in the Australian men’s rankings, who’s been making more headlines with some of his off-court comments than his tennis this past week.
Millman had caused a stir when tweeting his concerns over Wimbledon’s decision to ban Belarusian and Russian players, saying: “I feel like Ukraine would be better served if @Wimbledon donated their entire profit in support aid instead of banning the Russian and Belarusian players.”
At the Estoril Open, Alexei Popyrin and Max Purcell couldn’t get through qualifying while Jordan Thompson was beaten in the first round.