World number 102 Dustin Brown causes the first major upset of this year’s Wimbledon by beating Rafael Nadal. Could his winning form take him to the quarter finals and a clash with Andy Murray?
As early Thursday evenings go, I’m guessing Dustin Brown hasn’t had many better than yesterday. Tennis, and in particular Wimbledon, is fiercely loyal to its favourites and Rafael Nadal is most definitely a favourite of the Lawn Tennis Association.
But yesterday Brown, the new/old kid on the block, caused the first major upset of this year’s Wimbledon by beating one of the greatest tennis players to ever pick up a racket.
To put Nadal’s recent Wimbledon record into context, the loss wasn’t the biggest and unforeseen shock of all time. The Spaniard, who’s slumped to world number 10, hasn’t advanced past round five in the last three years – losing to players ranked 100-144 on the way. But Nadal is a two-time Wimbledon winner, with 14 grand slams in total, and this wasn’t a fluke, as Brown has beaten Nadal before.
Ranked: 102 (highest 78)
Grand slams/ ATP titles: 0
Tennis idol: Marat Safin
Record: one of two men to hold a 100 per cent record over Rafael Nadal (Alex Corretja is the other).
Brown’s nickname is Dreddy, unsurprisingly because of, yes, his dreadlocks. His tennis style is aggressive, playing on the front foot, attacking the net and using his agility to put his opponents under pressure.
Brown was actually eligible to play for Great Britain because of his grandmother, but opted to represent Germany. He’s originally Jamaican, but changed his nationality to German in 2010.
He was born in Germany, but moved to Jamaica when he was 12, moing back to Germany in 2004.
Dreddy has a large tattoo of the face of his father, Leroy, on his stomach, as well as numerous piercings – including his tongue – all over his body.
His parents bought him a Volkswagen campervan, which he used to travel across Europe in between 2004 and 2007 to play in tennis tournaments. With no sponsorship he had to supplement the minimal appearance fees by charging other players to use the spare bed in his van to sleep in and also stringing rackets with a machine he owned.
He doesn’t even have a designated coach – but assistants who help coach his game. Still with no sponsorship, Brown has earned $40,000 in prize money. He’s now set to earn $75,000 alone, just for getting to the third round at Wimbledon.
He now goes on to face Serbia’s Viktor Troicki (ranked 24th in the world) in the third round, with a possible quarter final match against British number one and world number three, Andy Murray, looming.