Roger Federer hopes for better weather in rematch with John Millman

Flashback: Federer falls to Millman in four sets (2:34)

No. 2 Roger Federer wins the first set but loses the next three, including two via tiebreak, in falling to John Millman in the US Open's fourth round. (2:34)

MELBOURNE, Australia -- In a career with so many highs, there are still many matches that Roger Federer would like to have a second go at it if he could.

From his defeat by Rafael Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon final to his agonizing loss from double match point against Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon last summer, there are some losses that stick in the mind.

But there is one loss that he has no wish to return to, happy simply that he survived in one piece: His fourth-round defeat by Australia's John Millman at the 2018 US Open, a match played in brutal conditions with temperatures in the 80s and more than 75% humidity, heightened by the fact the roof had been closed.

"I don't know anything remotely close," Federer recalled at Melbourne Park on Wednesday. "I was just happy it was over. I never had that. [Usually] I would rather go back in time, if I could play that match again, but I don't have that feeling about that match. I was just happy the US Open was over and I could focus on other things, recover, all that."

The two men meet again Friday in the third round of the Australian Open and Federer is just thankful he won't have to deal with that kind of heat.

"I almost passed out when I played him at the US Open, it was so hot," Federer said. "He was fine, he's from Queensland. He didn't come to check to see if I'd passed out afterwards, but that's OK."

The latter comment was said with a big smile on his face. Federer and Millman are good friends, the Swiss having invited the Australian out to practice with him in the offseason in 2017, and the pair have trained together many times since.

"He's a great guy. He's fit like a fiddle. I almost lost to him in Brisbane, as well, the first time I played against him," Federer said. "He's from this country, so naturally also it's going to be different intensity. I think this is going to be a good test for me."

Until that night in New York, Federer had always seemed unflappable in the heat but that evening, after the 20-time Grand Slam champion won the first set and served for the second, he wilted and Millman recovered to reach his first Grand Slam quarterfinal. Federer was mortal.

"I think it was a combination of many things that went wrong for me on that day, plus the opponent was ready and tough as nails," Federer said.

"Look, I have no regrets. In some ways I tried to prepare as good as I could for the US Open there. I tried everything in the match itself, as well. It was just not meant to be that day. I hit the wall. I tried to figure it out as long as I could. I still had my chances, so it was a tough loss. At the end of the day, it was one I forgot fairly quickly."

What he won't have forgotten is just how dogged a competitor Millman is and how good a player he has become. The 30-year-old is now ranked No. 47, firmly establishing himself in the biggest tournaments around the world and is starting to make a good living for himself, with almost $1 million won in prize money in 2019.

After a solid opening-round win over Ugo Humbert, he took out the No. 31 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland in straight sets. Having dropped only one set in two rounds and spending less than six hours on court, he should be ready to give everything against the man he calls "a class act."

"The way I see it is, you take a few snapshots, you have a few of those memorable moments that hopefully when you finish playing tennis you can think back and think that was pretty cool -- that was one of those moments," Millman said. "That was one of those really special nights at Arthur Ashe, packed crowd there.

"But I do know that that doesn't really count for anything now. It's probably the toughest test in tennis to versus Roger Federer. I think a lot of people think he's one of, if not the, greatest ever to play the game."

The way Federer has played in his opening two matches, Millman says he expects him to come out firing, doubtless determined not to let the same thing happen again. But the Australian will give it his all. "Probably even he'll be that much more determined to kind of nip me in the bud," he said.

"[But] I'll go out there and leave it all out there. If lightning strikes twice, I wouldn't say no to it. Look, it's what you want to do. You don't play sport to not want these moments. Home slam against someone like Roger, it's pretty cool."

Their match will be front and center on Friday, but Millman joked he would prefer if it was on Melbourne Arena, where fans with ground passes -- usually more vocal -- can get in, rather than on Rod Laver Arena, where tickets are most expensive, a situation that might see more Federer fans.

"I think the people who know me, know that I'm just your typical Aussie bloke," he said. "So I'm one of the people. The people get the ground passes and the people go to those courts. I know it's a little corporate at Rod Laver, but it's still a pretty cool court to play on."

Players can request which court they'd like to play on, but their requests get thrown into the mix with the demands of TV rights-holders, players' doubles commitments, weather forecasts and other considerations.

Federer said he'll be happy to play anywhere, but since he has not played a match here on any court other than Rod Laver Arena since 2014, the chances of Millman getting his wish seems slim.

"I don't choose which court I play on," Federer said. "I don't know if he was joking or if he was serious. You would think a match like this should be played at Rod Laver Arena maybe. I don't know who else, if the other seed has good matchups, as well.

"Possibly, he knows Margaret Court Arena better, Melbourne Arena. But I haven't thought of it. I figure this was always going to be on Rod Laver Arena. If this happens. I'm ready to go anywhere, whatever it takes."