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First Brown left Nadal in the shade, now he's done the same to Federer

When, if ever, do the camera crews at the All England Club turn their lenses away from Roger Federer? Who could they find more interesting on the practice courts than the winner of seven Wimbledon singles titles?

The answer came on Friday afternoon at the Aorangi Park complex when a 'mere' qualifier arrived on the scene. A serve-and-volleying 'rastafarian' with dreadlocks half the length of his body, a tongue piercing, a tattoo of his father over his rib cage, and a magnificent backstory.

Meet Dustin Brown, the player who spent years travelling across Europe, from one backwater tournament to another, in his Volkswagen campervan. The 30-year-old aspiring player of Jamaican-German origin who, as Federer was soaring so high in his golden age after 2004 you could call them the NetJet Years, got the van which was paid for by his parents. Without the Euros to pay for hotel rooms, it was the only way he could afford to keep on competing.

"There's no doubt - I'm 100 percent about this: the years that Dustin spent in that van mean that he appreciates this even more," Craig O'Shannessy, Brown's strategy analyst and friend of many years, told ESPN.

And by "this", O'Shannessy of course meant Brown's extraordinary second-round, four-set victory over former champion Rafa Nadal, a win that was marked with a late dinner in a Thai restaurant in Wimbledon Village.

Born in Celle in Germany, to a German mother and a Jamaican father, Brown would grow up in Jamaica, but now represents Germany. "Off the court, Dustin's such a humble guy. He comes from a humble background. The first thing you learn about him is that he's so genuine," said O'Shannessy, who devised the strategy that enabled Brown to trump Nadal.

"The person that he portrays himself to be, that's exactly who he is. There's no front at all. He's got the personality that makes you want to go the extra yard for him. Good things are happening."

In the campervan years, one only had to look at the personalised number plate on the moving crashpad - CE DI 100 - to know where Brown had travelled from and where he wanted to end up. The CE stood for his birthplace, Celle, D for Dustin, I for his mother's name Inge, and 100 because he wanted his ranking inside that number.

If Brown was to pay for the fuel to take him to the next tournament - and also to afford food, drink and racket strings - he knew that he would have to win some matches. For years, that racket-to-mouth existence continued, and it was only in 2010, so six years after he first set out on the tennis road in that van, that the last payment on the vehicle was made.

To supplement his earnings from competing, he would string rackets for his rivals. And he also didn't need to pay to visit a barber - he has said he hasn't had his hair cut for the best part of 20 years.

While Brown travels by more conventional means now, money can still be tight for a player ranked outside the top 100; he had to come through three qualifying rounds off-site in Roehampton, a few miles from Wimbledon, before he was given the prospect of a handsome payday when he was allowed through the iron gates of the All England Club.

Over the years, the Jamaican tennis authorities haven't exactly given him much financial support, and Britain's own governing body, the Lawn Tennis Association, didn't take him up on his suggestion that he could play with a Union Flag beside his name [he would have qualified through a grandparent], and in the end the decision was taken that he would represent Germany.

"I remember being here with Dustin a couple of years ago when he had just beaten another former champion, Lleyton Hewitt, to make the third round. I was with him in the players' restaurant and he was talking about money and trying to work out what schedule of tournaments he could play," O'Shannessy said. "He was trying to fit this jigsaw puzzle together. He was asking, 'How do I do this and become a professional tennis player and become successful at it?' It hasn't been easy for Dustin.

"When you don't have money, that slows down your development. If you can get into the main draws of ATP tournaments, they will pay for your hotel rooms, but the air fares are going to add up, and the costs are going to add up even more if you want to have a coach along with you."

In addition, O'Shannessy suggested that it takes longer for a serve-volleyer to piece everything together than it might for a baseliner. "He has always looked to come forward, always looked to play what appear to be low-percentage patterns such as drop-shot returns. And hammering the second serve as hard, or even harder, than the first serve.

"Trying to get a game plan that is a little lower percentage than others, that takes time to develop. I would say that there are several factors contributing to Dustin not breaking out until he did here against Nadal."

Sitting in that Thai restaurant on Thursday evening with Brown, whose Twitter handle is @DreddyTennis, it was clear to O'Shannessy that the British public have taken to the player's personality, style and high-risk game.

"The restaurant had held the place for us, and it was still pretty late, but people kept coming up to Dustin," he said. "People instantly recognised him and wanted a photo. More than anything, I think what the public like is the exciting way he plays tennis. His game is unlike anyone else's out there, and to beat such a great player, on such a big stage, and in such an exciting way, it was magnificent."

Taking off his beanie before practice on Friday, Brown was surrounded by a clusters of television crews, photographers and other interested parties, including a writer for a tabloid newspaper who wanted him to pose looking at a back page. Later, before disappearing down into the tunnel that takes the players from the practice area to the locker room, he must have signed more autographs and posed for more pictures than in the rest of the season combined.

Brown has an excellent tennis brain. "Dustin's tennis intelligence is off the charts. It's great talking tennis tactics with him because he really gets it. Some players I have worked in the past don't see the court as well, but Dustin really sees the court and understands the opponent," said O'Shannessy.

"My role with Dustin is loose, it's relaxed. I see him here at the tournament. I'm certainly giving him strategic help on opponents and Nadal is obviously someone that I've studied a lot. And, in a lot of ways, it was the perfect storm when you get Dustin's game, which is the Kryptonite for Nadal, but it still needed to be tweaked. There are certain patterns that Nadal was going to gravitate towards, and Dustin had to be aware of those and shut those down."

Brown must beware the Curse of Rafa, which has struck others who have conquered him. This is the fourth year in succession that Nadal has lost at Wimbledon to an opponent ranked outside the top 100, and all of the previous three - Czech Lukas Rosol in 2012, Belgium's Steve Darcis in 2013 and Australian Nick Kyrgios last summer - have subsequently lost their next match.

On Saturday he plays Serbia's Viktor Troicki and O'Shannessy explained what happens next for the underdog hogging the spotlight. "We'll be doing research on Dustin's next opponent and we'll be figuring out how we deliver it to him. There's some stuff that you might want him to sleep on, and some stuff that you give him him before the match. That's the art of coaching. You want to be giving him the stickiest message possible, but at the same time you want to keep his mind clear."

With a new-found fanbase and many a cameraman on his trail, that may be easier said than done.