NEW YORK. – Roger Federer revealed he struggled to breathe during his shock 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/3) defeat to world number 55 John Millman at the US Open tennis tournament on Monday.
The 37-year-old five-time champion laboured to his earliest loss at the tournament in five years with his challenge sinking in the crushing humidity on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I just thought it was very hot tonight. Was just one of those nights where I guess I felt I couldn’t get air. There was no circulation at all,” said 20-time major winner Federer who was bidding to clinch the US Open for the first time in a decade.
“I just struggled in the conditions. It’s one of the first times it’s happened to me. It’s uncomfortable. Clearly just kept on sweating more and more and more and more as the match goes on. You lose energy as it goes by.
“But John was able to deal with it better. He maybe comes from one of the most humid places on earth, Brisbane!”
It was Federer’s first loss against a player outside the top 50 in 41 meetings at the US Open.
He finished with 77 unforced errors and 10 double faults but had a host of chances to take wrap up matters in straight sets, squandering set points in the second and third sets.
He had also been a break to the good at 4-2 in the fourth but the errors just kept piling up.
Monday’s result meant there would be no quarter-final showdown with old rival Novak Djokovic who will now face Millman instead today.