Vale Craig Miller, an Australian Open junior champion
Craig Miller won the Australian Open 1980 boys' singles and doubles titles, and later became an influential coach.
The Australian tennis community is mourning the passing of Craig Miller.
Miller, who was born in the New South Wales town of Young in October 1962, was a standout junior. He finished runner-up to Greg Whitecross in the Australian Open 1979 boys’ singles final, then defeated Wally Masur in the final to claim the title the following year.
He also won the Australian Open 1980 boys’ doubles title with Masur.
During his professional career, Miller achieved a career-high singles ranking of world No.102 in January 1983. He reached the Australian Open second round in 1979 and also made second-round appearances at Wimbledon in 1983 and 1984.
He peaked at No.64 in doubles in January 1984 and won two tour-level titles. His best Grand Slam result was reaching the Australian Open 1985 semifinals with fellow Australian Laurie Warder.
After retiring in 1988, Miller enjoyed a successful coaching career. He held prominent roles at the Australian Institute of Sport, Tennis Australia and Tennis New South Wales, as well as running his own coaching business.
Former world No.1 Todd Woodbridge has led the many tributes to Miller since his passing earlier this week.
“Craig has been a massive part of our tennis community,” said Woodbridge. “I looked up to him when he won the Australian Open juniors and then went on tour. I remember playing him when I was 15, and was later coached by him at the AIS in Canberra. His commitment to teaching and growing the game at all levels is his legacy to tennis.”
Wally Masur, Miller’s former doubles partner, remembers him as ‘a very talented player’.
“He grew up in an era of wooden racquets, where placement and control was really the key and he certainly had talent in spades,” Masur said. “He was a really popular figure too and a bit of a character.”
Masur also described Miller as a highly-effective coach.
“Mills was a great hands-on coach and became a very good administrator, writing programs and helping run Tennis Australia’s performance pathway for a number of years,” he said.
“He was a student of the game who had been through the whole gamut of the experience, so had a really good understanding of the pathway. He had a long and varied career in tennis that was all very successful.”
Wimbledon 1987 champion Pat Cash was saddened by the news too.
“Mills was an important person in my early career,” Cash said. “He was an extremely talented player and, at times, a freakish shot maker. We had plenty of fun and laughs. He was a great role model for the younger players wanting to make it on the tour. In spite of the fact it was extremely competitive, he always kindly looked out for the younger players like myself.
“He was a generous but straight talking kind of guy, that I came to like very much. He will be missed.”
Former pro Chris Kachel, who accompanied Miller overseas early in his playing career and later spent many years working closely with him as a coach, described him as ‘a visionary’.
“He was a very good technical coach and a great mentor to a number of younger coaches,” said Kachel, a former head coach at the Australian Institute of Sport.
“He was a very well respected coach, who knew what he was talking about. He will be sadly missed by the tennis community.”
Sad news re Craig Miller. RIP Mills pic.twitter.com/pz2r2grQKz
— Greg Whitecross (@bltctennis) August 9, 2021
The Tennis community sends our condolences to Miller’s family and friends.