Superman Dustin sends Nadal to the dustbin again
LONDON: A 30-year-old German journeyman who once travelled around Europe's Challenger Circuit in a camper van joined a list of Wimbledon luminaries who go by the names of Lukas Rosol, Steve Darcis and Nick Kyrgios.
Dustin Brown and his waist-length dancing dreadlocks were taking a bow on Wimbledon's Centre Court on Thursday after handing Rafa Nadal yet another shattering defeat on the most famous stage in tennis.
The Spaniard who was once a regular feature on men's final day -- reaching five of them between 2006-2011 -- appears to have hit the buffers at the grasscourt major as for the fourth year running, a man ranked 100 or lower ousted him before the quarter-finals.
Following on from the bruises left by Rosol (100), Darcis (135) and Kyrgios (144), the 102nd-ranked Brown did not look like a man who had never stepped on Centre Court before as he floored Nadal with a brand of serve-and-volley tennis that left the purists purring.
"I had never been on the court before so I thought I would freak out," said Brown, who now boasts a 2-0 record over Nadal having beaten him in Halle in their only previous meeting.
But the offspring of a German mother and Jamaican father showed no signs of freaking out.
"I don't know if it was because of the match in Halle, it felt very familiar," Brown said after swapping his white on-court gear for a Superman T-shirt.
"Being on grass, being on court with him and having won the last match it made me feel more comfortable. It's easy for me to play my game against someone like him because I had nothing to lose.
"You have to play your A-game when you are playing against him. And obviously I was very fortunate to have played him on my favourite surface. I wouldn't want to play him anywhere else."
With Brown bamboozling Nadal by winning 71 of 99 serve-and-volley attempts, his tactics drawn from a bygone era won the admiration of American serve-and-volley great John McEnroe.
"Dustin Brown has been a perennial journeyman, he rose to the occasion against a great player. He was just going for it," said the three-times former Wimbledon champion whose duels with baseliner Bjorn Borg are stuff of Wimbledon folklore.
"He was trying everything, it had to be a record in drop volleys? Unbelievable but effective. If we had half the tour that played like Brown and half that played from the baseline, that would be absolutely amazing."