Rafael Nadal has been sent crashing out of Wimbledon by dread-locked German qualifier Dustin Brown, his fourth successive humiliation at the All England Club.
After former champions Roger Federer and Andy Murray swept into the Wimbledon third round on Thursday, the 2008 and 2010 champion slumped to a 7-5 3-6 6-4 6-4 second round defeat against the world No.102.
It was the 29-year-old’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 Australian Nick Kyrgios, who was at 144.
Down at his lowest ranking for a decade – at 10 in the world – Thursday’s defeat was yet another symptom 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 won on grass in Halle in 2014.
It also gave him a third round clash against Serbia’s Viktor Troicki.
Nadal saved two match points in the ninth game of the fourth set but Brown sealed a memorable victory on his 13th ace.
Meanwhile, seven-time winner and second seed Federer cruised to a 6-4 6-2 6-2 win over Sam Querrey of the United States, the world No.36 who has yet to take a set from the Swiss in the three matches they’ve contested.
Federer 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.
“I’m very happy with the way I’ve played now in the first two matches. I’ve had a good run so you don’t want it to stop in the first or second round,” said Federer, the runner-up to Novak Djokovic last year.
“I guess there’s also a little bit of relief that I’m actually playing well at Wimbledon.”
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 either experienced Italian Andreas Seppi or highly-rated 18-year-old Croatian Borna Coric.
“I started quickly and Robin was a little bit slower at the beginning and then he started to come back in it, he played better tennis,” said Murray, after his fourth win in five matches against his fellow 28-year-old.
Murray caused some amusement when he threw his wristband into the crowd where it hit the head of All England Club chairman Phillip Brook, who then handed it as a gift to Prince Charles’ wife Camilla 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.