Dustin Brown, Australian Open 2013
Dustin Brown has waited 28 years for a good paycheck.
Ever since he ditched his camper van in 2009 and started taking flights to tournaments, money has necessarily been on his mind. The $97,000 he collected after defeating Lleyton Hewitt, 6-4,6-4,6-7(3),6-2, in Wimbledon's second round should ease his worries. That, "is a pretty big paycheck up to now," according to Brown.
The good news for tennis is that Brown's work at Wimbledon is about more than money. The payday was nice. The results mean more.
Here are six reasons why he is ready to make the big time on the ATP tour.
Remember former world No. 2 Goran Ivanisevic? Not only did he win Wimbledon, but he had a great backhand. So does Dustin Brown. In fact, the two are eerily similar.
The video above shows a collection of Brown's backhand winners. Now look at Ivanisevic's backhand from Centre Court during the 1998 championship. The love-15 point looks like a carbon copy of what Brown achieved 15 years later.
Both are unreturnable.
As hard-court season arrives this summer, look for Brown to keep opponents honest with this stroke.
Dustin Brown's stretch forehand, Wimbledon 2013
Why hit with power when you don't have to?
That sounds strange, especially for someone with a blistering forehand, as Dave Seminar of The New York Times describes it. But there are many players with big forehand weapons.
Dustin Brown has versatility and surprise from this wing. Jonathan Liew notes that during one point against Lleyton Hewitt, he hit only slice forehands. The former No. 1 couldn't handle them.
When breaking into the big time of tennis, variety can go a long way.
Dustin Brown flies to a volley during Wimbledon 2013.
Dustin Brown doesn't paint well.
But he's got an incredible serve-and-volley game.
Douglas Robson of USA Today observed that only eight percent of points had been played at net as of Brown's second-round match against Lleyton Hewitt.
Then he pointed out how Brown attacked net relentlessly.
With so few players rushing the net, Brown may have an edge this summer.
Dustin Brown ends the point at Wimbledon 2013.
Dustin Brown is not afraid of the big moment.
To him, tennis is tennis, no matter who it is against. Only the venue changes. Clearly, the hallowed venue of the All England Club didn't unnerve him.
This allows the dreadlocked one to be free and aggressive. Nerves restrict play. Brown is uninhibited by them. Facing a former Wimbledon champion on the SW19 courts should be a daunting task.
Somehow, Brown made it look easy.
His opinion? "Win or lose, just go with it." As the year marches on, this freedom will help him win more consistently.
He'll be ready for the big stages.
Dustin Brown defeats Lleyton Hewitt at Wimbledon 2013.
Dustin Brown defeated Lleyton Hewitt.
This is almost cliché now.
By Week 2 of Wimbledon, attention turned to the exploits of Sergiy Stakhovsky and Jerzy Janowicz. Nearly lost in the shuffle is an astounding fact: Brown has beaten both of them each time they played. His record against Stakhovsky is 1-0. He is up, 2-0, against Janowicz.
The tennis world is excited about the futures of both the Ukrainian and the Pole. They have both lost to the German-Jamaican.
These results bode well for his arrival in the big time.
Dustin Brown signs autographs in Moselle, France, in 2010.
With everyone on your side, how can things go wrong?
Dustin Brown could be asking that right now. The player nicknamed "Dreddy" by adoring fans has quite the following. Pros from all eras can attest to how important a crowd can be. Just ask Andy Murray.
James Riach of The Guardian writes that Brown even drew supporters from Hewitt's fans. He knows how to play to the crowd. His emotions are applauded, even when he, "cried like a little girl," in Brown's own words. Having ties to Germany, Jamaica and England will only help, too.
Will "a Rasta man run di world," as Brown tweeted from the locker room at Wimbledon? Probably not.
But Dreddy is finally ready to take the stage.