(July 2, 2015) Germany’s Dustin Brown had never been on Wimbledon’s famed Centre Court until Thursday and made the most of his opportunity when he upset two-time Wimbledon champion and 10th seed Rafael Nadal 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the third round of Wimbledon.
“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.”
The 102nd ranked Brown, who had to qualify to play at the All-England Club, played the match of his life at a major gave Wimbledon the biggest shock of the tournament so far. Brown who was born in Germany to a German mother and Jamaican father, used his serve-and volley game to defeat a seed at a major for the first time in his career. He won 71 points serve-and-volley points, 49 points and the net and hit 58 winners.
Brown is now 2-0 against Nadal. The German defeated Nadal at a grass-court event at Halle last year 6-4, 6-1.
“I knew what the plan was because I played against him in Halle before,” Brown said. “Obviously he’s a great tennis player. Knowing that the grass might be a little slower than in Halle, obviously doing it over best‑of‑five sets is a different situation than doing it only best‑of‑three.”
“Well, the point is whatever I do is to take him out of his comfort zone. If I would stay in the back and rally with him left, right, that would not be a very good match for me. I know that. Obviously I try to play my game.”
This was the first time that Spaniard has ever lost to a qualifier at a major. This is the fourth straight year that the 14-time major winner has fallen to a player ranked 100 or lower in the early rounds of Wimbledon – 2012 to No. 100 Lukas Rosol in the second round, 2013 to No. 135 Steve Darcis and 2014 to No 144 Nick Kyrgios.
“I cannot describe relationship with grass,” Nadal said in his post-match news conference. “You know, when you love one thing, and even last couple of years I didn’t have the best relationship possible with them, going to be in my heart and in my memories forever the 2008 final. That was probably one of the most important moments of my career, and was here, no?
“You know, at the end of the day, today I lost. Don’t forget I played five finals here. I don’t know how many players did that.”
“With my game, it makes him not play his game at all,” Brown said after the match. “He gets two balls, or he doesn’t get any balls, and he doesn’t get in a rhythm.”
“Being on grass, being with him on the court and having won the last match, it made me feel more comfortable,” Brown added. “It was easy for me to play my game against someone like him, because I had nothing to lose.”
“Obviously today is a bad moment for me,” Nadal said in press. “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.”
“Losing in Roland Garros, going straight to Stuttgart and Queen’s, then came here very early to prepare the tournament,” Nadal said. “So I lost. Sad today for that, obviously.
“But end of the day, that’s sport. Good moments, bad moments. Obviously today is a bad moment for me. Just I need to accept these kind of things that can happen. I did all my career.
“Keep going. You know, it’s not the end. Is a sad moment for me, as I said before. But life continues. My career, too. I have to keep going and working more than ever to try to change that dynamic.”
“On this surface, when I go out there, obviously I’m confident that I can play my game,” Brown explained. “But then I said, again, I lost the match against (Jerzy) Janowicz who started serving too good. I lost against Kei (Nishikori). Obviously I am not unbeatable on this surface, but it comes more natural playing on this, especially with my type of game.
“Yeah, what other players think, no one has said anything to me obviously, but I know that I can play really well on this. I’m looking forward to the next match.”
The 30-year-old Brown will play Viktor Troicki, the No. 22 seed next for a place in the fourth round.