John Millman has let rip at US Open officials, accusing them of making rules up on the run and hastily introducing a shot clock “with teething problems”.
The Queenslander beat American teenager Jenson Brooksby 6-4 6-2 6-0 in heatwave conditions that he described as the most brutal of his nine-year grand-slam career.
Then he unloaded.
Millman’s biggest beef was players on outside courts receiving less time to recover and cool down between points and at changeovers than the stars do on show courts.
He pointed out that, because of ad breaks during play on televised courts, the big guns – and their opponents – were afforded 90 seconds time out.
“We got 60 seconds from when the umpire calls the score. They get a minute and a half in there,” he said.
“Look, that’s a massive difference. How’s that fair?
“Sixty seconds goes pretty damn quick by the time you get the towel and the ice towel around you’re neck.”
Millman said the shot clock, which allows the server 25 seconds between points, was also unfair and should not have been introduced for the first time at a grand slam without more trialling.
“Especially in these conditions,” he said.
“The umpire starts the shot clock after he calls the score.
“Well, if there’s a big round of applause on centre court there, then they get, what, an extra 10, 15 seconds.
“It’s got to be the same for everyone, no?
“They’ve got a fair few teething issues and it would be nice if they don’t have those teething issues at a US Open.
“Probably they should sort that out.”
Millman also wasn’t happy at only being told about 40 minutes before he took the court that, for the first time at a slam, players would be allowed a 10-minute break after the third set to escape the heat.
On medical advice, the USTA implemented the extreme heat policy after there had been four retirements in the men’s event by mid-afternoon at Flushing Meadows.
“They should have maybe asked a few people because it seems like they’ve made up their own rules there,” Millman said.
“Probably not the biggest fan of the 10-minute break. I don’t know if it does you much good.”
Millman next faces either Italian 14th seed Fabio Fognini or another American wildcard, Michael Mmoh.
Meanwhile, former US Open champion Samantha Stosur has crashed out in the first round, losing to world No.2 Caroline Wozniacki,
Undone by eight double-faults and 34 unforced errors as she battled to strike a balance of controlled aggression, Stosur’s campaign lasted just 84 minutes, losing 6-3 6-2.
Stosur also warned US Open officials that conditions were becoming dangerous for players as the temperature soared in New York.
The 2011 champion refused to blame the intense heat for her first-round loss to but said the welfare of players was a concern as the mercury hit 35 degrees Celsius before even 2pm.
“You do have to be careful. There were a couple of incidents yesterday as well and I think you’ve got to be sensible,” Stosur said.
“It was just bloody hot. I was drenched straight away … I mean, I felt fine but it was tough out there.
“My face was so red, I had to have a shower before I did anything else.”
On medical advice, the USTA implemented the extreme heat policy, offering women players a 10-minute break before deciding third sets and the men similar respite after three sets.
“What’s 10 minutes in the span of a whole day if it means the safety and health of the players for sure?” said Stosur, who likened the heat and humidity to being home in tropical Queensland but rated the conditions more uncomfortable to than at the Australian Open.
“Everyone always talks about how hot Melbourne is and ‘oh my god, it’s so bad and everything’, but the US Open’s way worse than Melbourne,” the veteran said.