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Dustin time for Wimbledon

Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Dustin Brown

Dustin Brown may not be a name you know today, but the Jamaican dreadlocked superstar is set to play tennis at Wimbledon.

He is the first high profile Jamaican tennis player to do so since Richard Russell, who represented Jamaica in the 1964 Australian Championship 42 years ago.

Could we now be seeing the emergence of a new hot talent to rival that of Arthur Ashe the first black man to win Wimbledon in 1974 where he beat the legendary Jimmy Connors in the final? He follows in a long line of African American and Asian players who have graced the Wimbledon courts over the last 40 years.

What makes Dustin unique is that he is in only one of two Jamaicans to make into the competition. That, along with his incredible struggle to achieve sporting recognition, makes Dustin the one to watch at this year tournament.

Dustin is proving himself to be a real talent and although he has struggled over the last 7 years to attract both commercial sponsorship and support from the Jamaican authorities, he has shown real determination and grit to follow his dream. Dustin standing at 6 foot 5 inches has a powerful serve that is known in Jamaica as the ‘lick shot”.

This week he beat the world number 9 Fernando Verdasco in three sets at the Boodles Challenge at Stoke Park, eventually losing out in the final. Over the last year he has moved up the world tennis rankings and is the top 100 – albeit at 99. A Jamaican by birth he has had a troubled history with Tennis Jamaica – the islands ruling body.

Reported in Sports Jamaica Dustin claims:

“Tennis Jamaica only knows me when the Davis Cup comes around, all the other times during the years they don’t care how I manage to train and play tournaments. I could have attained a higher ATP ranking much earlier with proper support,”

He continued:

“To be able to continue my career, my parents bought me a camper in April 2004 in order to travel through Europe and play as many games as possible. I would eat and sleep in my camper and I was traveling all over Europe, up and down for seven years to make it in professional tennis, holding the Jamaican flag high week by week, while my parents struggled to pay for the camper.

I made a name for myself in Europe with my camper, my only chance to make it in tennis. Finally in 2009, I reached 144th in the ATP world ranking as a Jamaican player. I made it.”

Such is his disappointment and anger at not being supported by Tennis Jamaica he is now exploring the opportunity to play for England in the Davis Cup. This could be possible through a British connection through his grandmother. So we could see the tennis playing Rasta take on Andy Murray as the nation’s favorite tennis player.

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3 Responses

  1. What does this have to do with British Black politics?

  2. Hi Mike,

    Do you not think there is a relationship between politics and sport?

  3. Mike, being black in Britain IS political.

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