Hewitt fans silenced by brilliant Brown

Representing the old and the new, Dustin Brown pulls off greatest victory of his life at Wimbledon.

Dustin Brown
The 189th-ranked Brown achieved his best Grand Slam performance with victory over Hewitt [Reuters]

“So who is the one to watch today?,’ I ask a media colleague at the start of day three.

“Dustin Brown,” he replies, “He won’t win but he’s an interesting guy and used to live in a camper van.”

My colleague was spot on – well almost.

At Wimbledon, it is a dangerous game to predict winners – as Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova have shown. The mighty do fall.  

A lot more people will know Dustin Brown used to live in a camper van after his phenomenal victory over grass court specialist Lleyton Hewitt in the second round on Wednesday.

On a day dominated by players pulling out of the competition, Victoria Azarenka, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Marin Cilic just to name a few – Brown will be leaving the ground with a huge smile on his face. And perhaps a tear in his eye, admitting after his match that ‘He cried like a little girl.’

“Did that just happen? I am happy and emotional, I have lots of friends, coaches and my girlfriend here – I am very happy about everything and that I got through the match,” Brown said.

“People ask what you do after winning a match like that and I just sat down and took its weight. I couldn’t really control it.”

It was an energetic, gutsy and entertaining performance from the German. Reaching round three is massive for the player, not just professionally but financially.

In fact, 10 per cent of his career earnings have come from the last three days at Wimbledon. That’s a life changing amount in the shortest of time.

Not even the Aussie fans could spur Hewitt to victory [AFP]

“It’s a pretty big pay cheque up to now and I also have got doubles tomorrow, but I’m trying not to get into it too much until the tournament is done.”

What was perhaps more remarkable than victory over Hewitt was the manner he did it. Brown was relaxation personified and looked to be enjoying every minute of it – not even the bolshie Aussie support rattled him.

Ranked 189 in the world, ‘Dreddy’ (as he is known) plays tennis the old fashioned way.  

A serve and volley specialist – he was fearless at the net and pulled off some superb drop shots and lobs. However, while his style on the court is old fashioned, his style off it is anything but.   

In his post-match press conference, Brown donned a white rastacap and a t-shirt with his Twitter handle on the back.

“A good friend of mine made a couple of these as I am online a lot and on Twitter – his wife designed it … I thought today might be a good time to wear it.”  

Smart lad. His immediate Tweet after the match read #DidAllThatJustHappen… #CriedLikeALilGirl #ARastsManRunDiWorl #TeamDreddy.  

So what happened to his old faithful friend – the campervan?

“I still have the van parked in Germany at my parents. When I started doing the ATP Challenger Tour in 2009 I could no longer use it because I went from tournament to tournament and they were too far away.”

With a Jamaican father, German mother and British grandparents, Brown has spent more time than most players thinking about nationality. Although his allegiance seems to lie with Jamaica, he found it impossible to make the relationship work professionally.

“I have a German and Jamaican passport – there has been a lot of trouble with the Jamaican federation and I couldn’t be bothered any more – I’m not looking to make any changes.”

“I am proud to be Jamaican – I just didn’t want to represent the federation any more – it was too much hassle – that’s why I took a German passport.”

After the impact he made on Court 2 against Hewitt, British and Jamaican tennis authorities are probably wishing they had been more accommodating to this unique individual.

Does he know what the draw has in store for him?

‘I want to take it match-by-match. I know I will be playing Mannarino in the next round because John Isner retired. I just heard about that now, I have no clue what happened.”

“Just because I won today it doesn’t mean I will beat Mannarino because all the guys who have come here have come here to win.”

Indeed they have, but not many seem to enjoy their game like Brown – and that could be his deadliest weapon.

Joanna Tilley is a freelance journalist working with Al Jazeera on the Sport website and reporting from the Wimbledon Championships. She has worked at Sky News, Sky Sports News and LBC Radio.

Follow her on Twitter (@joannatilley) or her website http://mythoughtonsport.blogspot.com

Al Jazeera is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Source: Al Jazeera