Vincent Millot, who will attempt to bridge a gap of 263 places in the world rankings between himself and Andy Murray on Thursday, has a proposal ahead of their second-round meeting at the Australian Open. “Maybe we should play each other at football rather than tennis,” the 27-year-old Frenchman said on being told that Murray was a decent footballer and has a grandfather who played for Hibernian. “And if we did that I think I might win.”
Although Murray was once invited for trials with Rangers, he cannot beat Millot’s football pedigree. The world No 267 was also a good footballer and as a junior turned down offers to join professional clubs. His father, Philippe, played alongside Michel Platini in the Saint-Etienne team of the early 1980s and his uncle, Franck Gava, played for Lyons, Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco, Rennes and Nancy.
Millot still loves football and trains with Dijon, who play in the French Second Division. He supports Montpellier, his hometown club, and Arsenal. Olivier Giroud, the Arsenal striker, was signed from Montpellier and Millot bears more than a passing resemblance to him.
“My haircut’s a bit like his, but my wife thinks it’s too short,” Millot said. “I quite like the comparison. He’s an excellent footballer and I enjoyed watching him when he played for Montpellier.”
Millot admitted he might be much richer if he had opted for football but said he had never regretted his decision to play tennis, even though he has never risen higher than No 147 in the world rankings. This is only his third appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament. His victory over Wayne Odesnik in the first round was his first at this level.
Murray said he had never seen the left-handed Millot play but was “glad” the Frenchman had won. Murray did not explain his reasoning but Odesnik is a controversial and unpopular figure in tennis, having been banned for two years in 2010 after trying to import human growth hormone, an anabolic agent used by drug cheats, into Australia.