LONDON (TIP): Two-time champion Rafael Nadal’s appalling recent run at Wimbledon continued on July 2 as he crashed out in the second round after being out-muscled and out-thought in four sets by an inspired Dustin Brown of Germany.
The Spaniard, who has slipped down the sport’s pecking order and was seeded 10 after a year of injury and below-par performances, fell 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 as Brown, ranked 102 in the world, unleashed a barrage of thunderous serves and ground strokes, mixed with clever drop shots to seal a shock victory.
Brown, who had beaten Nadal in the pair’s only other meeting last year, looked to rush the Spaniard from the start, blasting winners at every opportunity and squeezing Nadal at the net to cut off his options in an unorthodox style that had the Wimbledon crowd in raptures.
Former world number one Nadal, famed for his athleticism, could not find his rhythm among Brown’s variety of play, picking up the second set with a flash of his familiar passing shots and a helpful, albeit momentary, easing in his 30-year old opponent’s arrow like attack.
But normal service was resumed afterwards as the dreadlocked Brown, who changed nationality from Jamaican to German in 2010, blasted onward to seal victory with his 13th ace of the match.
“You have to play your A game against him. I am fortunate I played him twice on grass, which is my favourite surface,” Brown said.
“My game makes him not play his game. He doesn’t get in a rhythm. The set he beat me he passed me unbelievable.”
For 14-time Grand Slam winner Nadal, it was another tough time at the All England Club, having suffered shock early defeats to Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic, Belgium’s Steve Darcis and Australian Nick Kyrgious — ranked outside the top 100 — in the last three years.
Since finishing runner-up to Novak Djokovic in the 2011 final, he has now failed to advance past the last 16 of the grasscourt major.
Defeat to Brown, who heads into the third round at Wimbledon for the second time to face Serb Viktor Troikci, marked Nadal’s first loss to a qualifier in any grand slam.
“On this court especially, you meet players that don’t want to play from the baseline sometimes,” Nadal said.
“This opponent is one of these. You cannot have mistakes against a player like him with that big serve. You know, nothing to lose. Serving first and second almost the same speed.
“Without having rhythm at all. I didn’t hit three balls in a row the same way. Then when you need to hit that ball, extra ball, you don’t have the confidence to do it. So that’s what happened.”