Brandon Nakashima: ‘Cool To Get Coach’s Opinion’ During Matches | ATP Tour

#NextGenATP American Brandon Nakashima has soared from No. 170 in the FedEx ATP Rankings at the start of the year to a current career-high No. 63, following a strong season.

The 20-year-old became the youngest American since Andy Roddick in 2001-02 to reach multiple tour-level finals when he reached back-to-back championship matches in Los Cabos and Atlanta this season.

Nakashima, who also captured two ATP Challenger Tour titles in 2021, is set to make his debut at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan this week. The American spoke to ahead of the 21-and-under event.

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A lot of the #NextGenATP players have been doing amazing things this year. How much does it motivate you, seeing the other young players doing well? Is there anyone in particular who has really impressed you?
It is really motivating to see all these young players have such a great year and doing well at the big tournaments and competing well against the top guys. It is great to see the level of the Next Generation so high and out of all these guys, I have been super impressed with all their level throughout the whole year. There is no question all of us have the potential to do something great next year.

When you were growing up there were Roger, Rafa and Novak, who created great rivalries. As you’re competing with other #NextGenATP players, have you thought about your budding rivalries and playing against them for many years?
I think all of our games are great for the highest level, so I’m sure I’ll be playing them soon in singles and I’m sure we’ll have a good rivalry between each other in the future. It will be cool to have a rivalry with some of these guys for the years to come. Me and Sebastian [Korda] are the two Americans here and I think I will be seeing him and playing against him a lot in our careers, so I think that is going to be a great rivalry.

Have you watched the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals before and if so, what were your thoughts?
These past couple of years I’ve watched it on TV a few times and it looks like such an exciting and fun event out there. I remember watching when Sinner won it and being the lowest-ranked out of all of them was great to see. I think the tournament does a great job with the organisation and I think the level is going to be really high.

The Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals always has many innovations. Were there any that you particularly enjoyed and look forward to using and if so, why?
It should be interesting to see all these new rules and innovations here being tried out. The shorter format I think is going to be really exciting for fans to watch as there are going to be a lot of crucial points right from the beginning of the match. I think the coaching is going to be really big too, just to see how it feels out there and see if they include it in some of the ATP [Tour] events next year.

I myself kind of take directions from the coach pretty well and am able to apply them pretty quickly, whether in training or matches, so I think it’ll be cool to try and see how it goes. It could either help a lot or hurt me maybe a little bit. I think it’s always helpful to get your coach’s opinion when you’re fighting out there, just to see their point of view on the match.

When you think of Italy, what do you think of?
When I think of Italy I think of the food with the pizza and the pasta. I am a pretty general guy. With the pizza, I usually go for the pepperoni or the cheese. I pretty much like any pasta, tomato sauce and pesto sauce are my favourites.

Have you ever done some sight-seeing in Italy and if so what was your favourite place to visit?
Yeah, a little bit. It’s always cool to see new cultures. I always enjoy travelling and trying out new things – whether it’s the culture or the food in different countries. I’m always looking to explore new things.

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