Rafael Nadal’s career tailspin has accelerated, with dreadlocked German Dustin Brown condemning him to a fourth successive Wimbledon humiliation.
Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion, slumped to a 7-5 3-6 6-4 6-4 second-round defeat against the world No.102, who hit 13 aces and 58 winners.
It was the 29-year-old Spaniard’s first ever defeat to a qualifier at a grand slam and came in the aftermath of losing his French Open crown where he had been champion nine times.
The loss followed his 2012 second round exit to world No.100 Lukas Rosol, a first round beating by the 135-ranked Steve Darcis in 2013 and last year’s fourth round defeat to Australia’s then-teenager Nick Kyrgios, who was at 144.
Down at his lowest ranking for a decade – 10th in the world – Thursday’s defeat was yet another sign of the great Spaniard’s game being in a terminal state of decline.
For Brown, who once drove to tournaments in a camper van to save money, it was his second win against Nadal, having beaten him on grass at Halle in 2014.
“I had actually never been on Centre Court before,” said Brown.
“They asked me before the match if I wanted to go on the court. I didn’t know what was going to happen, so I just said I’ll just go on when I play.
“I thought I would freak out a little bit but, I don’t know if it was the match in Halle, it felt very familiar.
“Being on grass, being with him on the court and having won the last match it made me feel more comfortable.”
It also gave him a third round clash against Serbia’s Viktor Troicki.
There were no such problems for former champions Roger Federer and Andy Murray, who swept into the third round.
Seven-time winner and second seed Federer eased to a 6-4 6-2 6-2 win over Sam Querrey of the United States, the world No.36.
The Swiss fired 32 winners and hit just nine unforced errors in an 86-minute Centre Court stroll with Querrey able to carve out just one break point.
Federer will face Australia’s Sam Groth for a place in the last 16.
Third seed Murray, the 2013 champion, was equally dominant, taking just one minute longer than Federer to reach the third round by seeing off Robin Haase, the world No.78 from the Netherlands, 6-1 6-1 6-4.
The Briton smashed 25 winners past Haase and goes on to face experienced Italian Andreas Seppi.
Murray caused some amusement when he threw his wristband into the crowd, where it hit the head of All England Club chairman Phillip Brook – then handed it as a gift to Prince Charles’ wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, who was sitting next to him.
“Normally you see who catches it. Then the Duchess opened up her bag and my wristband was in there, so he obviously had given it to her,” said Murray.