Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

By Blair Henley | Tuesday, April 8, 2014

HOUSTON, Texas -- Dustin Brown has spent most of his career ranked outside the world’s top 100, but that hasn’t stopped him from making his mark on the ATP Tour.

Thanks, in part, to his trademark dreadlocks and kamikaze style of play, Brown has become a fan favorite, regularly regaling crowds with diving volleys, “tweeners” and inventive trick shots.
He made headlines a decade ago when he began traveling from tournament to tournament in a Volkswagen camper. At the time, the cost-cutting strategy was necessary to prolong his young career.
“It seems like a really long time ago, but it really wasn’t that long,” he said of the three years he spent as a tennis nomad. “It was the only way that I could have gotten where I am right now. I’m thankful that my parents had that idea. It was definitely worth it.”
In Houston for the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships, Brown is sleeping comfortably in a nearby hotel after winning his first-round match against last year’s semifinalist, Rhyne Williams. With no points to defend until Wimbledon, the 29-year-old is playing with plenty of confidence. In other words, fans will get to see him stretch his 6-foot-5 frame to the max.
“[When I’m confident], I try a lot of weird shots that other people haven’t seen before,” he told Tennis Now, “and I stay calm even when it’s not going that well.”
Currently ranked 101, the German-born Brown sees consistency as the key to moving beyond his career-high ranking of 89.
“All of these guys can play tennis,” he said. “I’m just trying to get my ranking up between 50 and 70 so I can play these events on a regular basis. If I keep playing my game, I have a good chance of troubling the other player.”
Lightning Round 
If you weren’t a tennis player, what do you think you’d be doing with your life?
Soccer, probably, or basketball.
What is your favorite thing to do on your off days?
Listen to music, be with friends, or be on the computer.
What is your favorite song on your iPod right now?
I have so much music. I don’t think I can tell you one.
Do you have any embarrassing songs on your iPod?
Probably a ton, but there is a lot of music on my iPod, so it’s hard to say.
What is your pet peeve?
When people are late. I’m very punctual, so unless there’s a very good reason, I hate when I am supposed to meet someone and they take ages to come.
If you could steal a shot from any player on the tour, past or present, what would it be?
I would trade my backhand for Rafa’s forehand (laughs).
Your dreadlocks have become your trademark. Do they ever get to a point where you need to cut them?
I’ve already taken a little bit off the end because on a kick serve when it’s a little wet or it’s been raining or something, it’s a little heavier and it flies over the front and goes in my face. I’ve already taken a little bit off the back, but August ‘96 is the last time I cut them. It’s been a while.
Do they ever fly over and smack you in the eyes? I’ve had that problem before.
 No, but it’s in the way, and I’m like where’s the ball, where’s the hair, and it’s not very good.
Biggest benefit of being tall?
Women that aren’t tall can wear high heels next to me. That’s a good answer (laughing).
Worst thing about being tall?
On a plane you don’t have a lot of space, or in a train or in a car. My legs are pretty long, but besides that, it’s okay.
Any hidden talents?
Good question. You’re going to have to ask other people about that (smiles). I’m not sure. I definitely can’t sing.
What’s your go-to dance move?
I don’t know if I can dance either. I sort of sit in the corner going like this (sways side to side).
What’s your favorite food?
I would probably say Jamaican food. My dad is a really, really good cook.
What’s your biggest strength?
People think that I’m always laid back, but the older I get, I’ve definitely improved a lot with my mental strength on the court. That has helped me play a lot better tennis in the last couple of years.
What’s your biggest weakness?
Probably the same thing. Like I said, I’m getting better and better at that. Hopefully it keeps improving.
Have you ever decided to dive for a ball, and thought mid-flight that it might not end well for you?
Yeah, I’ve done it on hard court before, and it is not a nice landing. You hit an approach shot, come in and dive and you’re in the air, and you’re like, “Okay, this is not going to end well. I just hope my bones are not all over the place.”
Most embarrassing moment?
We were at a Challenger in Rome last year and people were supposed to sing karaoke. Some of the players were not helping me. Andre Sa, for example. They were all shouting “DUS-TIN, DUS-TIN.” I’m thinking this is the most embarrassing thing that could happen, so I left.”
You just left?
Yeah, I said, “I’m going to the bathroom, so I’ll see you guys later.” (Laughs.)


Latest News