Wimbledon 2015: SW19 darling Dustin Brown goes the way of all Rafa Nadal’s conquerors

Brown lost to Viktor Troicki 6-4 7-6 4-6 6-3

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It may be closer to 40 hours of fame than 15 minutes, but fleeting it is for those rank outsiders who dare to eject Rafael Nadal from Wimbledon. Like all three previous breaking-news makers who sent the Spaniard packing when ranked  No 100 or below – Lukas Rosol (2012), Steve Darcis (2013) and Nick Kyrgios (2014) – Dustin Brown failed to go even one step beyond.

On a broiling Court Three yesterday, the German Rastafarian was beaten by 22nd seed Viktor Troicki, of Serbia, 6-4 7-6 4-6 6-3. The consolations will include £77,000 in prize money (plus £4,500 from the doubles); a ranking down to double figures from No 102 and a place in the main draw at the US Open instead of having to battle through qualifying as he did here.  

Rather like Heather Watson, sitting in the same seat for a media conference soon after defeat, however, the hurt and regrets were still too real for compliments or cash to mean much. “Obviously it’s great to make money in a tournament like this,” he said. “But then sometimes people don’t look at the bunch of weeks where we play a Challenger (match) in Italy, for example, and you get 300 euros minus 30 per cent tax. You can check what a flight is from Frankfurt to Italy.”

As for personal and professional satisfaction: “When I’m in Jamaica at the end of the year, then I can have a Red Stripe and say, ‘Great year, Dustin, you played great’. There’s no time for that right now.”

All he would admit was: “When I came to quallies, if someone would have said ‘sign here for beating Rafa, making the second round and qualifying’, I would have signed.”

Specific regrets centered on wasting break points in both of Troicki’s opening two service games, when Brown admitted he could have been more aggressive. From there the Serb’s serve was a huge weapon, not least in the second set tie-break, when he hit four aces and another service winner. As Brown said: “I’m not going to win that tie-break.” He lost it 7-3 to go two sets behind, rallying to take the third with a fierce forehand winner.

In the fourth, however, he was broken early, failed to take advantage of three chances to break back and after saving two match points, was understandably peeved to be foot-faulted at a crucial stage. The tie was over two points later.

It was an entertaining spectacle, partly because Brown’s choice of shot was sometimes inspired, occasionally bewildering. He once tried to convert an obvious overhead into some sort of drop shot; but could claim one of the shots of the tournament with an effort that had so much backspin, it dropped over the net and zipped back onto his own side.   

Troicki, who beat new Brit Aljaz Bedene in the previous round, was once as high as No 12 in the world and as low as 847 by the end of his 12-month ban for failing to provide a blood sample last year. His play was much the more solid of the two and by coming to the net himself from time to time, he was able to disrupt the German’s serve-and-volley game. Whether or not Nadal could handle it, that ploy became predictable. Brown was also outhit by 24 aces to 16, while his total of unforced errors was double Troicki’s 13.

“He played great, the way he was serving,” Brown said. “I think I played well and I wouldn’t compare it to any other matches. That’s what I said after winning against Lu, and Rafa – it’s always a totally different match.”

For the Nadal conquerors, like so many overnight Wimbledon heroes before them, that is always the problem.