Camper van memories give 'Dreddy' the drive for Murray meeting

Jamaica's Dustin Brown has travelled a rocky road to today's match with British No 1 so he's determined to put up a fight
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Andy Murray revealed recently that he was thinking of giving up his red Ferrari. "You could say that it's a poser's car – and I don't really like drawing attention to myself," the world No 4 said.

Dustin Brown, Murray's opponent here today in the second round of the US Open, doesn't use his own motor as much as he used to either. However, there is no way that the 25-year-old Jamaican will be getting rid of the camper van that for three years was both his mode of transport and his home as he toured Europe scratching out a living by playing in Futures and Challenger tournaments.

"It's still my car when I go home," Brown says. "So when I go home, I go to the supermarket with it or go to the movies or whatever, though I haven't been home that often. I'm not thinking of selling it either, because of so many memories and hard things I've gone through with the camper. I'm definitely keeping it."

Brown, who is quite a sight on a tennis court with his dreadlocks and 6ft 5in frame, is the only Jamaican man with a singles world ranking. A bold stroke maker who attacks at every opportunity (he says the drop shot is his favourite stroke), he was watched by a vocal group of supporters in his first match here and is sure to have similar backing today.

"A lot of Jamaican guys, and Jamaican guys I know that live in New York, came out to support me," he said. "I know the Jamaican guys are coming."

"Dreddy", aged 25, is based in Germany, where he was born. He went to live in Jamaica when he was 11 and stayed there until he was 19. His German mother and Jamaican father bought him the camper van to help him travel around Europe.

Having broken into the world's top 100 last year – he has since slipped back to No 123 – he believes "there's definitely much more to come". He made his first appearance at a Grand Slam tournament when he lost to Jürgen Melzer at Wimbledon and reached the second round here with a straight-sets victory over Spain's Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo.

Brown has been in a long-term dispute with the Jamaican tennis federation, which does not give him any financial support, and has talked to the Lawn Tennis Association about playing in the Davis Cup for Britain. He believes he may be able to play because he has an English grandmother.

Unable to afford a paid coach, he has been practising here with a friend from Switzerland. "We've been working pretty hard on the court and we've been seeing the results also, especially on my return game," he said.

Brown has had to pay his own way through what he earns in prize- money and from playing league tennis in Germany. To date he has career earnings of just $233,460 (about £152,000), compared with Murray's $12,181,001 (£7.91m). Winning one match here has already guaranteed him $31,000 (£20,100), the biggest pay cheque of his career.

Does he envy the money that the likes of Murray earn? "I'm very free," he says. "I can do what I want. If I don't feel like playing, for example next week, then I'll go home. Being in his position and having his type of money, there is a certain amount of contracts that you're tied down to, and rules you have to follow."

How did he expect today's match to go? "I'm definitely going to play my type of tennis, play aggressive, try to keep the points short. I've seen that he's a very good returner, so I'll have to see how it works out, how I'm serving, if it's possible to play serve and volley or if I have to play from the baseline."

Murray admitted he had never seen Brown play, but his mother, Judy, watched the Jamaican in his first match. "I've heard about him," Murray said. "He's got a big game, serves and volleys a lot and is very different to a lot of players on the tour. He's a good athlete."

What did Murray think about the possibility of Brown playing for Britain? "I don't know how English or British he feels, and I think that, for me, is something that's quite important when you're playing for your country," the 23-year-old Scot said.

Murray said he would enjoy the atmosphere Brown's supporters might create but added: "When you don't really know your opponent it is important to stay focused. The guys can start off slowly and get better as the match progresses, so concentration in these conditions is key. You don't want to let it slip and be a set down. Regardless of how he plays, I will need to be very focused because you do not want to be out there longer than you need to in these conditions."

The on-court temperature reached 43C during Murray's straight-sets win over Slovakia's Lukas Lacko on Wednesday, though cooler weather, with some rain, is forecast for today. Murray, who takes six litres of his own sports drink on to court with him, is quite happy to play in the heat, knowing that he has done so much work to improve his strength and endurance.

"If you put the work in, then you feel comfortable going on the court," Murray said. "If you're afraid of the heat, or worried about how it's going to feel, then it's not great. But I know I have trained a lot and I know I have come through a lot of tough matches in warm weather, so it doesn't matter so much to me now."

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