An emotional John Millman has been left seething by a dramatic end to his Wimbledon hopes, believing his opponent Roberto Bautista Agut's lengthy injury timeout in a decisive fourth-set tiebreaker may have cost him victory.
Millman, the first Australian to be eliminated from the grand slam event, proved once again in his bitterly frustrating 6-2 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4) defeat that he's one of the true gentlemen of tennis as he made a beeline to help his injured Spanish opponent even though the match was on the line.
Even though he felt Bautista Agut was one of the good guys, the 32-year-old Aussie admitted later that he was "annoyed" by the way he'd lost all his momentum when the eighth seed called for the trainer.
With the tiebreaker finely poised, Bautista Agut pulled up sharply when chasing down a short ball, then at the 3-3 changeover asking for the trainer to treat his left thigh.
Millman was unhappy about the timing and reckoned the "thigh rub" took far too long.
"To be honest, I'm a bit annoyed at that (long timeout)," he said.
"Stopped for about 10 minutes!
"I haven't seen that at 3-3 in a tiebreak for a thigh rub. I don't care who's playing.
"At 3-3 in a tiebreak in a fourth set, that's going to stall momentum."
After the timeout, Bautista Agut moved into a 5-4 lead yet as he struck a winner to get to match point he slipped on the grass and exacerbated the injury, slumping to the turf and yelping in pain
Now on the brink of defeat against the 2019 semi-finalist, Millman was more concerned about Bautista Agut's wellbeing, going straight to the other side of the court to aid the stricken Spaniard, patting him on the shoulder and picking up his racquet.
It was a superb gesture from Millman but only one that might have been expected from one of the most genuine characters on the tour.
When Bautista gingerly got back up to resume battle, he delivered a big first serve that Millman returned long, closing out the match in a tick over three hours.
"Look, I give the benefit of doubt to my opponent - I should have handled it better," Millman said.
"Should have gone for a run around the grounds or something if I'd known it was going to be a 10-minute delay. It's just frustrating.
"I'm still emotional a little bit. It's tough conditions.
"We're in a bubble, an 11-month trip that I'm on.
"I'll get home some time in September and I'm in bubbles every week.
"Olympics coming up, I had to pull out of Roland Garros with injury.
"You want to make it all worthwhile because I'd rather be home sometimes - and right now, I feel like I'd rather be at home."
Millman was the only Australian to finish a match on Monday, with three others failing to see any action because of the lengthy stoppages for rain.
Sydney qualifier Chris O'Connell will return on a busy Tuesday with the opportunity of a lifetime - his contest with flamboyant French 13th seed Gael Monfils was locked at one-set all and about to go into a tiebreaker when play was called off because of bad light.
Tuesday will be a bumper today for the Australian challenge with 10 players scheduled for action, headed by Ash Barty's opener on Centre Court against Carla Suarez Navarro with Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios to also headline.
AUSTRALIANS IN ACTION ON DAY TWO OF WIMBLEDON ON TUESDAY (PREFIX DENOTES SEEDING):
Marc Polmans (qualifier) v Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE)
Chris O'Connell (qualifier) v 13-Gael Monfils (FRA) - Resuming
15-Alex de Minaur v Sebastian Korda (USA)
James Duckworth v Radu Albot (MOL)
Alex Bolt (wildcard) v Filip Krajinovic (SRB)
Nick Kyrgios v 21-Ugo Humbert (FRA)
1-Ash Barty v Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP)
Ajla Tomljanovic v Greet Minnen (BEL)
Samantha Stosur v Shelby Rogers (USA)
Ellen Perez (qualifier) v Clara Burel (FRA)