But on Monday night, that happened. Not in the finals, not in the semifinals, or even in the quarterfinals, but in round four.
“He’s been a hero of mine. Today he was definitely not at his best, but I’ll take it,” Millman said in an on-court interview immediately after freezing a humid Arthur Ashe Stadium in time.
By the final of 3-6, 7-5, 7-6, 7-6, Millman, ranked the 55th best male singles player in the world, became the fifth-lowest ranked player to upset the 20-time Grand Slam single’s champion.
Not only is the upset victory for Millman dramatic on the surface, but the 29-year-old Brisbane, Australia, native has largely been a journeyman for the duration of his career, which will pit him against sixth-seeded Novak Djokovic in Wednesday’s quarterfinal.
Millman had never reached beyond the third round of a Grand Slam prior to this US Open trip. He’s struggled with injuries throughout his career, specifically in 2017, which landed him with a singles ranking of 128 by the end of the year. Millman had also been 0-10 against top-10 players in his career.
On the flip-side, Federer, a five time US Open champion (2004-2008 consecutively), was 40-0 in the tournament against players outside the top 50. Nearly equally as stellar was his record in US Open night matches, which sat at 35-2 pre-Millman.
Additionally, he had been 20-1 against Australians in Grand Slams, and having won 20 straight.
Much of the loss, though, was Federer’s own doing. The former top player in the world struggled immensely, recording 10 double faults, 77 unforced errors, and 49 percent of his first serves were successful.
The match ended around 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning, an inconvenience for Millman, who said that he has a 7 a.m. fantasy football draft, moments after the victory.