Rafael Nadal Crashes Out Of Wimbledon Defeated By German/Jamaican Dustin Brown
Dustin Brown, a former Jamaican representative with a clever touch, go-for-broke attitude and throwback serve-and-volley game, beat Nadal 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Centre Court today July 2, 2015 in by far the biggest surprise of the tournament so far.
Brown, a 30-year-old journeyman who had never beaten a seeded player at a Grand Slam, kept Nadal off balance all match with a mix of drop-volleys, big serves, reflex shots and quick-fire backhand serve returns.
It’s the first time Nadal has lost to a qualifier at a Grand Slam, and the fourth year in a row he has lost in the early rounds at Wimbledon to a player ranked 100th or lower.
“Obviously today is a bad moment for me,” Nadal said. “I need to accept. This kind of things, they happen. … It’s a sad moment for me, but life continues. My career too. I have to keep going, working more than ever.”
Brown, who was born in Germany to a Jamaican father and German mother, moved to Jamaica at the age of 12. He returned to Europe in 2004 and traveled around the continent in a camper to play tournaments. Brown switched nationality from Jamaican to German in 2010.
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, who had to get through three rounds of qualifying just to make into the main draw, 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 winning 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.
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.
“Being on grass, being with him on the court and having won the last match, it made me feel more comfortable,” Brown said. “It was easy for me to play my game against someone like him, because I had nothing to lose.”