In what has been the biggest shock at this year’s Wimbledon tournament, Rafael Nadal was ousted by the relatively unknown Dustin Brown in 4 sets in the 2nd round. Nadal was distraught at the end of the match and admitted he wasn’t sure if he would be back to his best.
Going all guns blazing from the first game itself, Brown made sure that Rafa would have to be on top of his game to win. Brown’s serve and volley game often found Nadal struggling to get into his rhythm.
The former’s stats were mindblowing – 71 out of 99 serve and volley points won. Rafa was the first to break, to go up 2-1, but Brown proved to be no pushover and won a break himself to level the game at 3-3. With some clever playmaking and solid groundstrokes, the first set went to Brown – 7-5.
Rafa managed to bring some remnants of his confidence combined with shrewd passing at the net to win the second set 6-3, but the powerful groundstrokes and the thunderous serves of the dusky Brown were too much for Nadal to play his aggressive game and the next two sets were taken 6-4 each and the match was won.
The match really was a display of stark contrasts with Brown seeming to be brimming with confidence while Rafa seemed to be frustrated to the point of desperation.
“I don't know if I will be back to the level of 2008 or 2010,” the BBC reported as the two-time Wimbledon champion saying.
“My motivation is to try to be back to that level. But I've got to keep working.”
It is not the end: Nadal
Stoic as always, the former World No.1 said that he’s not ready to hang his boots up just yet.
“It's not the end. It is a sad moment for me, but life continues. My career, too. I have to keep going and working more than ever to try to change that dynamic,” Nadal revealed to the press after the match.
“I am a good loser. When I am not that good, I always accept.”
Brown, on his part, spoke of the tactics he knew he would have to employ from the start if he were to rattle the Spaniard.
“The point is whatever I do is to take him out of his comfort zone,” the ATP World Tour website reported Brown as saying.
“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. Even if I miss a few returns or whatever, it's also good if he doesn't get that many hits and obviously doesn't get into a rhythm.”
This strategy, as Centre Court saw, was enough for the 102nd-ranked German-Jamaican to win.