Dustin Brown Rafael Nadal Wimbledon 2015
Dustin Brown and Rafael Nadal shake hands after their second round match at WimbledonReuters

Rafael Nadal is getting used to saying "it is not the end of the world" after big losses in big Grand Slams now, and how disappointing is that.

At the peak of his powers, he is near unstoppable; Roger Federer, arguably the greatest to ever play the game, will nod his head in acknowledgement to that statement.

Unfortunately for all tennis fans, and the Nadal ones in particular, those peak-of-power moments seem to have taken a long, long holiday, with no sign of a return just yet.

Maybe it got sucked into a vortex and the Nadal of a parallel universe is playing at the peak of his powers. Because this Nadal, in this universe, looks like a shadow's shadow of the player who won 14 Grand Slams, including two at Wimbledon.

It was all too easy it seemed, the moment Dustin Brown started to serve and volley and attack Nadal's opponent's serve, to throw his opponent off his game. The forehand went awry, the serve was even worse and easy as pie Brown, ranked 102 in the world, was celebrating a 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory.

"I just need to accept these kind of things can happen," a forlorn Nadal said. "I did all my career. Keep going. It's not the end. It is a sad moment for me but life continues. My career, too.

"I lost. Sad today for that, obviously. But at the end of the day, that's sport. Good moments, bad moments. Obviously today is a bad moment for me.

"I have to keep going and working more than ever to try to change that dynamic."

The worry, though, is that dynamic shows no signs of changing. If it was ever going to change it would have been after a humbling loss to Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the French Open, a Grand Slam which has been Nadal's and Nadal's alone in the last decade.

At Queen's, the warmup tournament to Wimbledon, Nadal threw away a third-set lead to go down to Alexandr Dolgopolov. That you-just-cannot-win-easy-points-against-Nadal feeling has gone, and it seems every single player on the circuit knows it.

Brown's emphatic victory was the fourth straight early loss for Nadal at Wimbledon after Lukas Rosol beat the Spaniard in 2012 in the second round, Steve Darcis did the same in 2013 in the first round, and Nick Kyrgios kept the pattern with a thumping win in the fourth round last year.

Nadal, never one to make excuses, knows, while the first two losses can be put down to his knee problems, the defeats to Kyrgios and Brown, on Thursday, were down to opponents in inspired form with the Spaniard just unable to find an answer.

"It is obvious that 2012 and 2013 were not an issue," Nadal added. "I was not competitive. Too much problems on my knees. Last year and this year, no problems at all with my knees. I was ready to compete. I lost.

"On this court especially, you meet players that don't want to play from the baseline sometimes. You cannot have mistakes against a player like him with that big serve, nothing to lose, serving first and second almost the same speed.

"Without having rhythm at all. I didn't hit three balls in a row the same way. Then when you need to hit that ball, extra ball, you don't have the confidence to do it. That's what happened."

The only question that remains is if Nadal can find that form of old, or if those injuries have finally taken its toll. The great man himself is not too sure.

"I don't know if I will be back to the level of 2008 or 2010 or 2007 or 2006 or '11," Nadal said. "My motivation is try to be back to that level. But I am going to keep working on that. But if I don't make that happen.

"I [have] played five times [in the final] here, had the trophy back home two times, so it is not bad. At the end of the day, today I lost. Don't forget I played five finals here. I don't know how many players did that."

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