What happened when Rafa played Wimbledon from 2006 to 2011? Answer – He always played on the final day of the championships. Turn to 2012-2015, what happens when Rafa plays at Wimbledon? Answer – He loses to players with a three-digit ranking!! Lukas Rosol, Steve Darcis, Nick Kyrgios and Now Dustin Brown. These are the players who have gone on to traumatize the 2-time Wimbledon Champion handing him early defeats and left him to speculate – can be ever produce the same form on the lawns at SW 19 that saw him reach 5 finals between 2006 to 2011.

Jamaican-German Dustin Brown, ranked 102 in the world and who came through the rigours of qualifying shocked the tennis world when he dispatched 14-time grand slam winner Rafa Nadal in 4 sets (7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4). “Dreddy” (his Twitter Handle – @DREDDYTENNIS) came up with a go-for-broke strategy and old school serve-and-volley to rattle the Mallorcan Matador. The 30-year journeyman who had never won against a seeded opponent in majors, kept the Spaniard off-balance and without any rhythm throughout the match with his deft touches, clever drop-volleys, huge serves, reflex shots and big backhand returns which were constantly brushing the baseline.  Brown used serve-and-volley on 99 of 114 service points, winning 71 of those. He also won 49 of 85 points at the net and finished with 58 total winners, compared to 42 for Nadal.

Brown had played Nadal once before, beating the Spaniard 6-4, 6-1 on grass in Halle, Germany, last year. But few people gave him much of a chance against the 14-time Grand Slam winner on the greatest stage in tennis. “I’m playing the first time on Centre Court,” Brown said. “It was awkward actually; I Thought I was going to freak out a little bit”

Brown gave Nadal fits with his serve-and-volley tactics — something rarely seen any more. “With my game, it makes him not play his game at all,” Brown said. “He gets two balls, or he doesn’t get any balls, and he doesn’t get in a rhythm.” The demonstrative Brown celebrated winners by turning and staring at his entourage in the guest box, pumping his fists, hopping in the air and tapping his heart with his racket.

This marks the 1st time Nadal has lost to a qualifier at a major and his 4th consecutive loss to a player ranked outside the top 100. Interestingly, his 5 worst grand slam losses have all come at the All England Club (2005 – Gilles Muller (69), 2012 – Lukas Rosol {100), 2013 – Steve Darcis (135), 2014 – Nick Kyrgios (144), 2015 – Dustin Brown (102)}. This defeat follows on the heels of his subpar clay-court season and his second-ever defeat at the French Open, in a match against Novak Djokovic that was barely competitive. He’ll almost certainly drop from his No. 10 ranking that was already his lowest in a decade. And now he’s facing a North American hard-court season that could get him off track even more.

Now who exactly is Dustin Brown (apart from his 4 foot monster dreadlocks) and what exactly is the magnitude of this defeat Rafa suffered.

  1. Nationality: Ex-Jamaican, could have been British, but is German

The 30-year-old Dustin Brown has mixed heritage. His father, Leroy, is Jamaican and his mother, Inge, is German. He was born in Germany but moved to Jamaica in 1996 before switching nationalities back to Germany in 2010 due to lack of funding from the Jamaican Tennis Federation.

Brown could have also played for Great Britain as he told the Guardian in 2010, “Definitely I would be interested [in playing for Britain]. The British connection is on my father’s side of the family; it’s my grandmother”. But thankfully for Germany, that never worked out.

  1. The camper van that saved his career

After struggling to travel to play tournaments due to lack of funds, his parents hit upon a novel idea, which may have ended up saving his career. They bought him a camper van, which he drove around Europe between 2004-07 and helped him in hotel & food expenses.

Dustin calls his parents the most inspirational people he knows and in case you are wondering, the van is still parked at his parents place in Germany.

  1. Only active player with a perfect record against Nadal

This is not the first time that Brown has beaten Nadal – he also upset the Spaniard at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle last year. Brown is the only player, other than the retired Alex Corretja, to have a perfect record against Nadal (2-0) among players who have played Nadal more than once. It’s no wonder he calls grass his favourite surface.

  1. Second time in the Wimbledon third round

In 2013, Brown reached the third round at Wimbledon after upsetting Australian Lleyton Hewitt in the second round; he then lost to Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in the Round of 32.

He has only won one other match at all the other three Grand Slams combined in his career. Brown next meets Serbia’s Viktor Troicki for a place in the fourth round of a major for the first time in his career.

  1. Busy man at Wimbledon this week

Brown came through the qualifying event at Roehampton, where he won three matches to enter the main draw. He also competed in the men’s doubles draw where he played a marathon five-setter match in the first round.

Brown and Andreas Haider-Maurer lost to Nicholas Monroe/Artem Sitak 6-7, 6-4, 4-6 6-3, 8-10 in 3 hours and 22 minutes.

  1. Back in the top 100 after this win

Brown is currently ranked No. 102 in the world, but has been as high as No. 43 – back in 2012. With his performance his week, he is guaranteed to move into the 80s at the minimum in the rankings.

Brown is also the fourth player in a row ranked in three digits to beat Nadal at Wimbledon – following Lukas Rosol, ranked No. 100, Steve Darcis ranked No. 135 and Nick Kyrgios ranked No. 144.

  1. There’s more to him than his dreadlocks

They may call him ‘Dreddy’ for his dreadlocks, but that’s not the only thing striking about his appearance. Brown also has a pierced tongue and a tattoo on his torso.

In an interview with the Tennisnow website, Brown commented, “I’ve already taken a little bit off the end because on a kick serve when it’s a little wet or it’s been raining or something, it’s a little heavier and it flies over the front and goes in my face. I’ve already taken a little bit off the back, but August ‘96 is the last time I cut them. It’s been a while.”

For someone who comes off as so macho, Brown describes himself as emotional, saying he cried like a little girl after his win over Hewitt at Wimbledon.

WHAT AN INSPIRATION!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About The Author

I am an avid tennis player an also a passionate and ardent writer about Tennis. I'm an expert in Men's and Women's tennis and updated with all activities and events happening in the ATP as well as WTA tour. I can contribute stats as well as expert opinions on Tennis Shyam is a guest contributor to the WWTA.Today site. His options are his own.

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