LONDON -- On the final point of the first set of his latest Wimbledon disappointment, Rafael Nadal swung his mighty lefty forehand -- and whiffed, accidentally whacking his right leg with his racket.
It was a painful, embarrassing mistake, symbolic of the sort of day this was.
During five trips to the All England Club from 2006-11, Nadal reached the final every time. In his most recent four appearances, Nadal has exited early against an unheralded, unaccomplished and, most importantly, unafraid opponent ranked 100th or worse.
Thursday, Nadal lost, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, in the second round to Dustin Brown, who needed to qualify just to enter the main draw.
"It's not the end," Nadal said. "[It's] a sad moment for me . . . but life continues. My career, too."
Toni Nadal, Rafael's uncle and coach, summed up the Centre Court match this way: "He played really bad. Bad shots. Very bad with his forehand."
All true. But give credit to Brown and his varied, risky and entertaining brand of tennis, a mix of old-school serve-and-volleying, drop shots, drop volleys and go-for-it returns.
"I had nothing to lose. If I lose 6-1, 6-2, 6-3, everyone says 'Bravo, Rafa,' " Brown said.
The 30-year-old Brown was born in Germany to a Jamaican father -- whose face is tattooed on Brown's stomach -- and German mother. They moved to Jamaica when he was 12 and returned to Europe about a decade ago. Around that time, his parents bought him an RV so he could drive from tournament to tournament.
Who could have imagined this sort of triumph back then? Or, frankly, even now? After all, Brown is ranked 102nd, entered the match with a 6-11 record in 2015 and has never been past the third round at a major.
Nadal, meanwhile, is a former No. 1 and the owner of 14 major titles, tied with Pete Sampras for second-most behind Roger Federer's 17.
Federer joined Andy Murray and Petra Kvitova as past Wimbledon champions picking up straightforward, straight-set victories Thursday. Federer's 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win over Sam Querrey included one particularly memorable moment -- an on-the-run, between-the-legs lob.
Nadal used to leave opponents feeling that way, too. Not lately. He missed time last season with a right wrist injury, then needed appendix surgery, and has spoken about confidence issues.
After his run of five consecutive French Open titles ended last month with a quarterfinal loss to Novak Djokovic, Nadal's ranking dropped to 10th, his worst in 10 years.
Consider Nadal's history at Wimbledon. He lost to Federer in the 2006 and 2007 finals, then beat him 9-7 in the fifth set of the epic 2008 final. After missing the 2009 tournament because of injury, Nadal collected another trophy in 2010, then lost to Djokovic in the 2011 final.
Said Nadal, "I don't know if I will be back to [that] level."