Today, tennis fans were all asking the same question: who is the guy with dreadlocks that beat Rafael Nadal? We have some answers for you.
Dustin Brown, a German player with dual citizenship in Jamaica, pulled off the Wimbledon upset by defeating Nadal 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. Brown’s Spanish opponent looked uncharacteristically out of it, and the dreaded player took advantage of that to get the win. It was his first time on the main court there, and he ate up the big stage in spectacular fashion. ESPN’s Darren Roval tweeted that Brown was making $120,000 a year, and the 30-year-old will now earn that much for winning today.
What about the journey Brown traveled to get there? Here are a few facts about him:
He got into Wimbledon on a wild card
Because Brown is outside of the top tennis ranks, he had to compete in a qualifying tournament to get into Wimbledon. He previously made it to the third round in 2013, and has never gone beyond that in the other grand slams. Brown’s highest ranking was 78th in the world, which he held last year. He also competes in doubles, where he has won a few smaller tournaments.
He previously traveled to tournaments in his own van
To help him early in his career, his parents brought him a van as the Jamaican tennis federation did not give him much financial support. He sometimes lived out of his Volkswagen between tournaments in Europe, using it to save on costs. In a story from the New York Times, Brown described how he would get by on earnings from tournaments and sometimes ate pasta for weeks. He would also string rackets for other players to make money on the side.
He represented Jamaica until 2010
When Brown moved to Jamaica to live with his father, he gained citizenship there and represented the country in tennis. He was on their team in the Davis Cup, a tournament where the best players of a nation compete as a group against other countries, like the World Cup in soccer. When the country did not give him enough support to play, he left in 2010 to represent Germany. He was the highest-ranked Jamaican player in the sport, and according to the Guardian was the first to achieve that feat in over four decades.
Brown is one of a few players to beat Nadal more than once
Nadal, often called the king of clay, has dominated the sport since 2005 with Roger Federer. But injuries have slowed him down recently, and other players have learned how to beat him. Brown previously beat Nadal at a German tournament last year, and some experts saw this upset coming. With Brown playing a net game and inventing strategies and shots on the fly, he prevented Nadal from finding his rhythm. Save for the second set, Nadal was the one being pushed around today.
Brown is pretty tall at 6 feet, 5 inches
The images of Brown are deceiving: he is one of the tallest players in tennis now. And what about those dreads? According to an interview with TennisNow.com, he started growing them in 1996. He also sports a stomach tattoo, which is supposedly of his father, Leroy Brown.
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