Rafael Nadal beaten by Dustin Brown

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Two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal made an early exit for the fourth year in a row as he was outplayed by qualifier Dustin Brown on Centre Court.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

Germany’s world number 102 won 7-5 3-6 6-4 6-4 to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the third time.

It is only the second time this year that the 30-year-old has won back-to-back matches at the top level.

Nadal, 29, has now lost in the second, first, fourth and second rounds on his past four visits to Wimbledon.

On each occasion the 14-time Grand Slam champion was beaten by a player outside the world’s top 100.

Brown, who changed nationality from Jamaican to German in 2010, now has a 2-0 record against Nadal having beaten the Spaniard on grass in Halle in 2014.

“You have to play your A game against him,” Brown told Reporters.

“I am fortunate I played him twice on grass, which is my favourite surface. My game makes him not play his game. He doesn’t get in a rhythm.”

Nadal’s last four Wimbledon campaigns have ended in defeat to underdogs ranked 100 in the world or lower at the time.

The 14-time Grand Slam champion conceded that after his latest upset he may not recapture the form that secured titles at the All England Club in 2008 and 2010.

John McEnroe, three-time Wimbledon champion

“Five hundred professional tennis players are inspired to hang in for a couple of years longer because of what they have just seen there. Nothing is impossible. Brown’s level of play on this court was spectacularly high.”

Brown came through three rounds of qualifying last week, needed four sets to win in the first round on Tuesday and played five sets of doubles on Wednesday.

Thursday’s victory guarantees him £77,000 in prize money, and Brown will take on 22nd seed Viktor Troicki in the last 32 on Saturday.

“It’s great that people are appreciating me for my tennis. But on the other side, if I would worry too much about what people think, I wouldn’t have the hair and probably wouldn’t look the way I look,” Brown said.

“When we watch my matches it’s like, ‘OK, that’s a good shot, maybe that was stupid’.

“That is how I am. That’s what makes me dangerous, especially on these surfaces.”

Former British number one Tim Henman

“I think Roger Federer or Andy Murray would have beaten Brown today. They both return better and are more confident.

“When you have won 14 Grand Slams and 60-odd tour titles, it amazes me how fragile Rafael Nadal’s confidence is.

“He has talked about how he really struggles with nerves in matches and that amazes me. He needs to find a solution to that because he is still young.”

His attacking game proved too much for 10th seed Nadal, with 13 aces, 58 winners and 89 trips to the net keeping the Spaniard on the back foot.

Twenty winners and two breaks of serve helped Brown to the first set, but Nadal appeared to be taking back control with two breaks in the second.

The German was not intimidated, pushing hard again in the third set and grabbing the crucial break with another sortie to the net.

Nadal’s once fearsome forehand was misfiring badly and after he found the tram lines to fall behind at the start of the fourth, it appeared only a failure of nerve could stop Brown.

That almost came to pass when he missed a first match point by leaving a tantalising volley, only to see the ball drop inside the baseline, and Nadal then fired down an ace on the second.

It was left to Brown to serve out for the win of his life and he finished with an ace.

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