ATP Challenger Tour, Sophia Antipolis: The indomitable spirit of Dustin Brown
The sport of tennis has several players who are talented and determined, as well as some players whose mere presence entertains the crowd. Both the types of players are equally important as they bring competition along with entertainment to the court, in their own unique ways.
But that doesn't mean that the players who like to enjoy themselves on the court by going out of the way to produce spectacular shots are not competitive. They just have a different perspective towards the game, and one such player is the Jamaican-German Dustin Brown.
Brown shot into the limelight when he defeated the Spanish bull Rafael Nadal consecutively in two years - first at the Halle Open in 2014, and then in the second round of Wimbledon 2015.
The Wimbledon match in particular was one that was predicted more on the shot-making of Brown than on the ever-lasting defense of Nadal. Sure he made some errors both on the forehand and the backhand, but he also produced some pure magic from his racquet, especially at the net.
And this week at the ATP Challenger tour in Sophia Antipolis he was at it again, regaling the spectators with his incredible talent. Here is a clip of a point that fully showcases Brown's gifts:
Brown's ranking climbed to as high as No. 64 after those initial successes against Nadal, and it almost looked like it was destined to be a fairytale story from then on. But he was unable to capitalize on his breakthrough and move ahead in the rankings.
Brown travels alone with a mobile van his parents had gifted him, and he also has a racquet machine that he uses to string racquets for his peers and others. The unorthodox nature of his tennis probably could have come from traveling alone to tournaments and not having a proper mentor to guide him.
Even though Brown has been unable to win the big tournaments, he has been continuously playing in the smaller, Challenger-level tournaments. Today he won his 8th Challenger title in the second edition of the Mouratoglou Open in Sophia Antipolis, France.
In the final, Brown defeated Filip Krajinovic, who had stunned Stan Wawrinka in the second round of the recently concluded Miami Open. The scoreline read 6-3, 7-5 in Brown's favor, giving him his first Challenger title since June 2016.
With this victory, Brown will move to the 169th position in ATP world rankings.
Not every struggle ends in victory, but if it gives you gratification, it is certainly a struggle worth going through. And Brown exemplifies that better than any other player.
He is the epitome of what talent and hard work are all about. Against all odds, he still fights every inch to attain whatever is up for grabs, and in that journey, he entertains every tennis lover with his amazing shot making.
Way to go, Dustin!