Rafael Nadal was knocked out of Wimbledon in the first week for the third time in four years, bamboozled by the wild but often brilliant game of the qualifier Dustin Brown, a man who spent three years living in a camper van as he travelled Europe trying to earn a living. The German hit numerous drop shots, some unbelievable returns and generally kept the 10th seed off balance and out of kilter, clinching a 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory.
Remarkably, it was Nadal’s fourth straight Wimbledon loss to an opponent ranked outside the top 100 and, after losing his hold on the French Open title last month, he must now find a way to pick himself up on the North American hard courts later this summer.
“I’m happy I got to play him on that court win or lose,” said Brown. “All the kids that play tennis dream about being able to play on that Centre Court. Playing against him there is special. Also being able to put that performance together, it was definitely very difficult and I’m very happy that I held it together for the whole match.”