Wimbledon 2015: 'If I worried what people thought I wouldn't look the way I look,' says Dustin Brown

 

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The Independent Online

Dustin Brown has been strolling around the All England Club in his red Beats by Dre headphones all week. It was only Friday that anyone deigned to trouble him for a picture.

The conqueror of Rafael Nadal might have been better known to British audiences at least. Born in Germany in 1984 to a German mother and Jamaican father, he has represented both nations, but his paternal grandmother is British, and he tried to represent Britain after falling out with Tennis Jamaica in 2010. But the Lawn Tennis Association did not accept his offer and he instead played for Germany.

Much has been said of his days driving from tournament to tournament in Europe in an old camper van, a lifestyle less of choice than necessity which he no longer observes.

His parents, worried about the lack of support from Tennis Jamaica, in 2004 bought him the van, in which he could live and travel while playing in Europe. It took them six years to pay off the cost, the final instalment coming in the very week when he entered the top 100 for the first time.

 

Just making the third round at Wimbledon comes with a £71,000 pay cheque, the largest of his career. “To be honest, I have not really thought about any of that,” he said. “When the tournament is done, then I will start thinking about the points and the money. Right now I am just trying to focus match by match and trying to play good tennis.”

He is, unsurprisingly, the only Rastafarian on the professional tour. “I am the way I am,” was all he could say on the matter at the end of what he called “the best day of my life. I’ve been like this all my life. Obviously, it’s great that people appreciate it. But on the other side, if I would worry too much about what people think about everything I do, then I wouldn’t have the hair and probably, definitely, wouldn’t look the way I look. It’s difficult when people ask me that about myself because for me it’s normal. I could be sitting here and saying, ‘Why are you guys all different?’ It’s a difficult question.”

As a young man growing up in Germany, he played handball and football as well as judo and tennis before concentrating on tennis. When he moved to Montego Bay with his parents, he started again on public courts, moving up through the juniors until he joined the Futures circuit in 2010.

It is an impressive tale of not giving up. On his website home page, it says: “A man with desire can do something… can do anything.”

Now he will face Viktor Troicki, the tall Serbian 22nd seed with the powerful serve. Brown will have more cause than ever to believe that anything is possible. In the later rounds, Andy Murray potentially lies in wait.

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