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Thursday June 24, 2010

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Dustin Brown Interview

Wimbledon 2010

Q. Well played. Even though you lost, you still managed to entertain the fans out there.

DUSTIN BROWN: Yeah, I realize that. I mean, Jurgen is a great player. I saw his French Open performance, so that was probably not the best draw you could have gotten here. He's is a very good returner.

Just need to play more often against these guys at these events and have these matches, and just also stay focused with my head. You know, once in a while the guy played well, returned well; and then if he's returning well and I'm giving him, in some games where I got broken, you know, one or two easy volleys which I should put away, and I start messing around. Of course I'm gonna get broken, and that's exactly what happened.

Still, I'm very happy with the way I played. I think I definitely gave him a good match. And, yeah.

Q. He seemed to have trouble reading you. Do you actually make up your decision what shot you're gonna play very far in front of...

DUSTIN BROWN: Well, as far ahead as you can. I mean, if the ball comes, then I know what I'm gonna do. Or I switch it last minute. It always depends.
But normally I pretty much have a good idea of what I'm gonna do.

Q. Because some of shots are unorthodox.

DUSTIN BROWN: For other people, yes; for me, no.

Q. Where did you develop the forehand slice? You don't see that too often.

DUSTIN BROWN: Just a coach, Kim Wittenberg, who I always of working with. An American guy. He always told me, especially when I'm playing on fast surface, you know, I'm always trying to go into the net.

So especially on these surfaces, the forehand slice doesn't come you up. So it's even a lot easier hitting that than the topspin ball, because the ball is gonna jump up higher, especially against the guy who pass really well. It helps a lot.

Q. What was the experience like in the days leading up to it?

DUSTIN BROWN: Definitely nice. Nice to be at the tournament. I have my best friend here, my mom, my aunt. It's just been great. I'm gonna stick around for a couple more days, practice, and then head back to Germany.

Q. It's obviously been mentioned about potentially Davis Cup. You haven't played for any country yet, have you?

DUSTIN BROWN: Played for Jamaica in 2002, but I'm pretty sure the cooling off period is 36 months, so I haven't been playing Davis Cup lately at all.

Yeah, that's one of the questions that's been coming very often lately. But I would say that something has to happen from the LTA. If they're interested, then they have to step towards me. Because just changing my nationality now and getting a British passport is not gonna solve the problem.

So have to definitely have an approach from them and then have a sit down.

Q. Grandparent?

DUSTIN BROWN: Yeah, on my dad's side.

Q. Are you very disillusioned by the attitude of the Jamaican Tennis Authority?

DUSTIN BROWN: Um, basically saying the same thing over and over again. They're not doing their job. Everybody knows it. Now everybody knows it because I actually start playing in these events.

So I'm just basically repeating myself. They're not doing their job and it's terrible.

Q. And they have never given you any funds?

DUSTIN BROWN: No funds, no coaching, no help. Doesn't really help getting an email two days ago telling me, Congratulations for your wildcard for Wimbledon.
I've basically worked really hard and been struggling through and fighting with my parents and everything and I get in in a direct entry, don't have to go through qualifying, it's my second Grand Slam only - the first one was Australian Open - and then you get an email like that from the president, it's like, What are you guys doing at work? Sitting down doing nothing. If the president doesn't know what the No. 1 player is doing, he doesn't care.

Q. Obviously we go back to that Cool Runnings and the bobsled team and everything. Are there a lot of sports in Jamaica where is seems as though you're fighting against what's there instead of with?

DUSTIN BROWN: I don't know, because I don't do any other sports in Jamaica. I play tennis. I've definitely come a cross my struggles and troubles over the years. Now you see Usain Bolt. He's getting along fine with them, I guess. I mean, he's a world record holder, fastest man alive, so I guess they're getting along fine.

I don't know. There's nothing -- anything I can comment on that.

Q. If the Jamaica Federation fixed their attitude towards you and other players, would you play Davis Cup for them, or would you still look to...

DUSTIN BROWN: Well, definitely a lot of things have to change. It's not only about me. You know, I mean, I could care less and say, Okay, I'll just take my stuff, and when I'm done, then it's done. But then why let them get their way?

At the end of time of I'm done playing, maybe the most talented player will be born in 20 years in Jamaica and won't stand a chance because of their system. So that's actually why I'm -- the only reason or way you can change a system is when you are doing well and people are listening.

I guess it's these tournaments which I'm gonna be playing more in the next couple months and hopefully also years. So all I can say, is if the questions are gonna be asked, I'm definitely gonna answer the questions and say that they're not doing their job.

Q. So if you did get an approach from Britain, you would change but with reluctance, I guess?

DUSTIN BROWN: It always depends. I've played for Jamaica all my life. I'm actually pretty happy to play with Jamaica. Also to be happy which will also kind of like be a thing for Britain, to be one of the only players or to be the No. 1 player.

Because I could play for Germany also because my mom is German; I am German. But in Germany I am No. 13, a Germany has a lot of good players. So Jamaica doesn't have a lot of good players. I'm the only one right now. So it's actually very nice.

And going to a tournament and you see the Jamaican flag, okay, it's there for me and not for another 20 guys. So that's definitely a nice thing.

It's all options. If the LTA would step toward me and definitely offer me things that would help me improve my game and everything just around my game and definitely make my tennis better, then obviously that's one of the things I would have to look at.

Not because I don't want to play for Jamaica anymore. I just have to try to further my career. Anything that would help me definitely is worth listening to and looking at.

Q. 25 is a relatively late age to be making a breakthrough. Why would you say it's taken this time?

DUSTIN BROWN: That's also one of the main things. I don't come from a tennis family, so everything we've gone through, basically, you know, by trial and error. Do you do that? Do you do that? And then you do something and it's like, Okay, it's working, so that's good.

Basically that's it. Not having your own coach over the years. This is actually the first time that I've traveled that I've had now my best friend as my coach here and my mom and my aunt for support.

Normally it's just, you know, the other guys that you know from the tournaments. They will come over and watch your matches, you'll watch their matches. So you have your friends on the tour that will support you, and you support them.

And then on the other side, better now than never.

Q. Did you play many other sports as a kid?

DUSTIN BROWN: When I was young I was actually growing up doing everything because I was a very hyperactive kid. I did football, soccer, judo, swimming, tennis, and actually sometimes even more than one thing in a day. I'd go from judo to swimming and then from swimming to tennis practice.

So I'll go home and then I'll be tired and my parents are like, Okay, now he's going to sleep. Good thing.

Q. Were you better at one or the other?

DUSTIN BROWN: The last things I was doing was basically tennis and football. Then it was basically my parents said, Okay if you want to be really good at one thing you have to make a decision.

I went with tennis because also it's a singles sport and you're responsible for your own good. You could be the best player on the team on one particular day and still lose. Just probably also a little better at tennis than soccer, so that's just what I stuck with.

Q. How old were you when you started playing and how did you get into tennis?

DUSTIN BROWN: I start playing when I was five. We lived knew a tennis court and Germany, and the coach there was actually a Jamaican who was a friend of the family. So I would pass the courts, saw the courts. Sooner or later I said, you know, I want to do this. When I was five, I started playing.

Q. Were you immediately quite good, or did it take a while?

DUSTIN BROWN: Um, when I was playing juniors in Germany I would have days when I would, for example, play against a top junior in my age group where I would do really well or beat them or almost beat them, and then the next day I would play against a kid who basically couldn't hold a racquet and I would lose.

So it was always a little back and forth just focusing and doing the things I was doing. When was young I was playing serve and volley or hitting the dropshots. If you're playing mini tennis and hitting dropshots, it's not good. The guy is two meters away. (Laughing.)

So I guess I'm just building my game all the way up to now. It took a long time, but now, as I said, I won a set today against Melzer. Last year around this time I was playing a Futures in Germany. So it's definitely a far step.

When I played -- when I saw him play at the French Open he went to the semis. So if someone said, Dustin, you're gonna go to Wimbledon and you're gonna lose in four sets against him, that's okay for me. The guy is a good guy.

Of course I would have loved to win the match, but for today I did my best, and I'm happy with the end result.

Q. Can I ask you about your superstitious. You like the same ball back.

DUSTIN BROWN: I like the same ball, but it's also a thing that I've gotten in the habit of over the years not in rush myself. So if I go back and go for the ball again and wait until I get the ball back, I won't be rushing myself.

A lot of times if I got nervous then I'll be starting to rush myself on the serve back. So if I always wait until the same ball comes back I give myself time.

Q. You also seem to, if you've played a bad shot with a ball, then you get it and put it in your pocket for the remainder of the game.

DUSTIN BROWN: No, actually most of the time I always have a ball in the pocket. I don't know why that is, but I just got used to it. Doesn't really make a difference what ball it is. Just a ball in the pocket.

Q. Do you have any actual superstitions, like don't tread on the lines?

DUSTIN BROWN: No, nothing like that. The game is hard enough as it is. I don't want to make myself any more...

Q. Not during the points.

DUSTIN BROWN: Of course. But, no, I mean, none of that stuff.

Q. What about from here on? The rest of year, what are you looking to achieve?

DUSTIN BROWN: Well, definitely establish myself well inside the top hundred so I will be in the main draw in the Masters Series events and the Grand Slams and in the tour event.

And then over time, hopefully play these matches more often and then start winning rounds at these events and getting further and further. Just have to keep going. It's been an unbelievable year for me.

My goal at the beginning of the year was to be top hundred and to be in the main draw at Wimbledon. It worked out great. I mean, compared to Indian Wells and Miami, where I also played this year, I played terrible. I think I made four games in both tournaments.

So this tournament at this level definitely was a better tournament. Even though I lost it Jurgen, I'm happy with my result.

Q. Where do go from here next?

DUSTIN BROWN: Probably spend a couple more days in London. Practice here. Haven't seen my best friend that often. Also spend time with my family.
Then go back to Germany for a Challenger on clay, then I go back to the States for Newport, and then come back to German for Stuttgart for ATP.

Q. So clay, grass, clay?

DUSTIN BROWN: Yeah, that's what the schedule looks like right now. I mean, not any different. I practice on grass now, on grass or on fast surfaces. Earlier in the year I had a schedule where I was playing clay/hardcourts. On the clay court of course I'm gonna stay back and play from there; but as soon as I go on a faster surface I'm gonna come in.

So it's gonna take couple hours of practice, and then I'll have it back in the system. Should be fine.

Q. Will you play that forehand slice on the clay court as well?

DUSTIN BROWN: Often, but definitely more suitable for the grass or for the faster hardcourts.

Q. Is there something about you that's typical German?

DUSTIN BROWN: I'm always actually on time, and I hate people that are late. It's just a thing that I've always-- the clock on my phone is always ten minutes ahead so I don't get anywhere late.

Q. That's it?

DUSTIN BROWN: Basically, yeah. And the way I look. (Laughter.)

Q. Is it true that the Jamaican tennis president congratulates you for the wildcard in Wimbledon?

DUSTIN BROWN: Yeah, we just said that a few moments ago. Two days ago I got an email. Just sitting there in the bed and it's like, Oh, what are these guys doing?
Basically just saying, Congratulations for achieving the wildcard at Wimbledon.

Q. What's his name?

DUSTIN BROWN: Phillip Gore.




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