Brown: 'Grass Court Season Is My Season'
The German is producing top-level tennis at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Manchester.
Dustin Brown has been producing plenty of Hot Shots in 2016, but he’s also lifting up trophies as the ATP Challenger Tour calendar turns to his beloved grass courts.
Competing this week in Manchester, England, the German won his seventh ATP Challenger Tour singles title by defeating No. 4 seed Yen-Hsun Lu of Taipei, 7-6(5), 6-1. Brown came through in tight moments throughout the tournament, prevailing in all four tie-breaks he played.
“Looking at the draw, we were all joking saying whoever makes those [Emirates ATP Ranking] points definitely deserves them," said Brown. I’m very happy playing well on the grass so far. I wanted to come to Manchester to get on the grass and concentrate on playing a lot of matches.”
Some of Brown's most memorable victories have come during the grass season. He defeated former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt en route to the third round of Wimbledon in 2013. The following year, he beat then-world No. 1 Rafael Nadal at the ATP World Tour event in Halle, then replicated that victory last year in the second round at Wimbledon.
“The grass court season is my season,” said Brown. “The crowds here in the U.K. have always supported me. It would be nice if there were a lot more tournaments on this surface.”
The German hasn’t just been making headlines this week for his impressive wins. Video of his acrobatic dive volley and ‘tweener winners against Ram quickly made its way around the Internet, racking up over 15,000 views on YouTube in 24 hours and being circulated by major outlets including the BBC.
Flashy hitting has become a staple of Brown’s game. In February, a behind-the-back winner he hit at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Bergamo went viral, garnering over 800,000 views on YouTube.
“A lot of it (the entertainment) is how I am and how I learned to play tennis. It’s intuition and when the balls go in, everyone’s happy. I was on the wrong side of the court, so I ran and in my head I said, ‘Let’s do it,’ said Brown after the match against Ram. “If I make it, everyone says ‘Great.’ If I hit the house behind the court, everyone says ‘What an idiot, how can he do that at 2/2 in the tie-break?’”
Few people would question Brown’s shot selection so far this week, though. As he continues his preparation leading into Wimbledon, Brown is confident knowing his grass court prowess makes him capable of defeating anyone.
“The most important thing I’ve learned over the years is to come to terms with my tennis,” said Brown, “And how I can be dangerous, especially with these surfaces.”