Australia’s John Millman has completed a horror year at tennis’s grand slam events by being eliminated in the first round of the US Open.
The 32-year-old Australian was sent packing 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/2), 6-1 by Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen in nearly 2.5 hours.
Laaksonen, who is ranked 130 in the world was too good for the out-of-sorts Australian, who has battled injury throughout 2021 and failed to advance past the opening round at any of the three grand slams he has contested.
Millman was a late withdrawal from the French Open due to a back injury but he failed to make it past the opening round of the other two grand slams, losing to Frenchman Corentin Moutet at the Australian Open and eighth-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut at Wimbledon.
The performance at Flushing Meadows in stark contrast to his career-best performance there in 2018.
Back then Millman defeated Swiss great Roger Federer in the fourth round, before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic, in Millman’s only grand slam quarter-final.
Against 29-year-old Laaksonen that 2018 performance would have felt like it was more than three years ago as Millman struggled to make any impact.
Laaksonen was content to rally with Millman from the back of the court, hitting plenty of off-pace balls and making the Australian force the issue.
It worked as Millman committed 43 unforced errors across three sets, while only hitting 16 winners.
He also rarely got a look in on Laaksonen’s serve, getting just two break point opportunities as the Swiss pounded down 16 aces.
It was an inauspicious start to the tournament for Australia’s players but Nick Kyrgios, Alexei Popyrin, James Duckworth and Astra Sharma are all still to play one day one.