John Millman wants tennis authorities to name and shame cyber bullies after revealing he was the victim of online trolls, bitter about losing bets on his matches.
In an extraordinary – and sad – postscript to his heroic US Open run, Millman said he even expected to come under attack after losing his quarter-final to grand slam colossus Novak Djokovic.
“I’ll have some probably now,” Millman told AAP before departing New York on Thursday.
“It’s a bit of a headache and a bit of a blight at the moment that a lot of players have to deal with.
“I don’t know the answer. Look, you try to ignore it but there’s a fair few idiots out there that something possesses them to get online.
“You get that always whenever you have a loss.”
Australia’s new tennis hero is by no means alone.
Retired countryman Sam Groth once claimed that even his girlfriend and family had received death threats after some of his matches.
American Nicole Gibbs told CNN last year that she’d first started receiving online abuse while playing college tennis.
Gibbs said a disgruntled Twitter user posted: “You are so f***ing bad. I hope you die slowly, but f***ing painfully …You have deserved it! WHORE.”
Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson is another to have suffered through what Millman believes is an epidemic that needs serious attention.
The popular Queenslander said he copped online abuse after his first-round loss to Taro Daniel at Winstom Salem the week before the US Open.
Millman has learnt to deal with such appalling bullying but says it can be distressing for players.
“I’d just like them (the trolls) to be named and shamed a bit more. Some of these people have families and stuff and they’re hurling abuse at people,” he said.
“I find it a bit strange, but obviously they lack a little bit of character.”
It’s incredible to think Millman could find himself such a target after stretching Djokovic to almost three hours in a 6-3 6-4 6-4 defeat that was much closer – and stressful for the Serbian superstar – than the straight-sets scoreline suggests.
“I’m really, really proud – not proud but happy – with how my body has held in there and physically I actually feel pretty good in this caper,” Millman said.
“I mean, it’s tough. Playing against Novak, I think the guy’s beat a brick wall once.
“He makes you work hard for every point and it’s relentless. It’s time and time again. And that’s the difficulty playing against him.”
Millman, who will climb to a career-high ranking inside the world’s top 40 for his Flushing Meadows run, will get little respite.
He was leaving for Europe on Thursday to spearhead Australia’s Davis Cup tie against the Dominic Thiem-led Austrians in Graz next week.