Tears of Joy Follow Jamaican/German Tennis Player Dustin Brown’s Unlikely Victory Over Hewitt


Puerto Rican teenager Mónica Puig is not the only Caribbean player making news at Wimbledon this year. Jamaican-German player Dustin Brown today scored an impressive victory over former Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt, as Dave Seminara reports in this article for The New York Times. Like Puig,, Brown has now moved to the third round, where he will play Adrian Mannarino of France.

When Dustin Brown strolled out onto Wimbledon’s Court 2 for Wednesday morning’s first match against Lleyton Hewitt he wore a pair of oversized headphones and a sleeveless shirt. He looked so relaxed that he could have been ambling through an airport, rather than onto the grounds of the All England Club to face a rejuvenated former champion.

When the match started, he stayed cool, nonchalantly flicking devastating forehands, gracefully curling drop volley winners and mashing aces with his easy, relaxed service motion. And when a Hewitt forehand sailed past the baseline to give him an unlikely 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-2 triumph, he casually tossed his racket toward his box as though it were a routine day at the office.

But after shaking hands with Hewit, Brown broke into tears, burying his head in a towel following the biggest victory of his career, perhaps recalling his nomadic years of penury when he traveled the challenger circuit by camper van.

“I cried like a little girl,” said Brown, who went to his postmatch news conference wearing a Bob Marley-style Rasta hat to cover his dreadlocks and a T-shirt with his likeness on the front and his Twitter handle on the back.

After upsetting Stanislas Wawrinka, the No. 11 seed on Monday, Hewitt was asked how far he might advance in a suddenly wide-open, Rafael Nadal-less section of the draw. He refused to speculate, saying, “The moment you knock off a decent player and let your guard down, that’s when you’re going to go out of the tournament.” After his match against Brown, Hewitt insisted that he had not taken Brown lightly but had simply failed to measure up.

Brown, born in Germany to a German mother and a Jamaican father, is reed thin and has long arms, but he strikes the ball with compact, lightning quick strokes. He barely tosses the ball on his serve, but his compact motion allows him to explode into the ball. In the first set, he blasted huge serves, often following them into net, smacking buggy-whip forehands and using a surprisingly deft touch at the net for a 6-foot-5 player.

Brown won the first set on an extraordinary, Boris Becker-like full diving volley, breaking Hewitt’s serve at 4-5. Brown jumped to his feet, let out a scream and raised both of his arms to the sky in exultation.

Hewitt broke Brown to start the second set with a nifty backhand slice, but Brown, who once represented Jamaica before switching to Germany, continued to dictate play and he broke back to level the match at 2-2. Hewitt was playing cautiously, as if hoping that Brown and his go-for-broke game plan might fizzle. Brown consistently ran around his backhand on Hewitt’s serve, smashing return winners early and often.

Brown broke Hewitt at love at 5-4 to seal the second set, snapping a clean forehand winner off a weak second serve to go up two sets to love.

Brown, a 28-year-old qualifier, seemed to be enjoying himself on the court, frequently smiling or pointing to the heavens after fortunate bounces. Brown served and volleyed effectively at times and seemed to be feeling no pressure.

But Hewitt has made a career out of unlikely comebacks and as the third set moved into a tiebreaker his supporters tried to rally his spirits with an “Aussie-Aussie-Aussie-Oy-Oy-Oy” chant. Hewitt, 32, seized control of the tiebreaker, 4-3, finally managing to pass Brown at the net after dozens of unsuccessful attempts. After Brown sent a forehand past the baseline to send the match into a fourth set, a suddenly rejuvenated Hewitt leapt in the air, gave a double fist pump and screamed “Come on!”

But the momentum shifted again at 1-1 in the fourth set, when Brown broke Hewitt’s serve with another blistering forehand service-return winner. He broke again in a four-deuce game at 3-1, with Hewitt pushing a tentative backhand into the net. And after holding to go up 5-1 with a delightfully casual forehand swing volley, Brown smiled as though he knew he had the match won. Moments later, he served out the match and the tears began to flow.

Brown is ranked No. 189 but he’s in a wide-open section of the draw from which the fifth-seeded Nadal, Wawrinka and the 18th-seeded John Isner have all departed.

Brown’s next opponent will be Adrian Mannarino, a Frenchman ranked No. 111, but he seemed pleased just to have the prospect of a good check.

“When I came here, I looked at the paycheck, and it said £3,000,” he said. “Great, because I haven’t won any matches.”

Indeed he had lost in the qualifying round of three consecutive tournaments before Wimbledon, but he now has a chance to advance into the tournament’s second week. Brown was asked about the camper van he traveled the circuit in until 2009, and he said that he still owns it.

“It’s parked in Germany at my parents’ place,” he said.

His American coach, Kim Wittenberg, and a close friend from Germany, Christian Sohns, said outside Court 2 after the match that they too were nearly in tears after the win. Wittenberg said that Brown has the ability to go deep in the draw, and he neatly summarized how Brown’s fortunes have changed since his camper van days.

“He travels in jets now,” he said. “They’re not private but they’re jets. Not vans.”

For the original report go to http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/27/sports/tennis/tears-of-joy-follow-an-unlikely-victory-over-hewitt.html?_r=0

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