Feb/20

19

Nakashima is a Tennis Terminator

Brandon Nakashima walks onto stadium court at the Delray Beach as if he’s walking to a practice at a public court. Nothing phases this 18 year old phenom.

He’s playing veteran Cam Norrie winner of 45 career ATP matches and almost $2m in prize money. But as the duel on court between man and boy ebbs and flows it is the veteran 24 yr old who shows signs of struggle and exasperation. Norrie keeps it on serve to 4-5 but looks and sounds like the underdog. Norrie yells cmons and has to fight so hard to keep up with the kid.

Ugo Humbert comes to watch the end of the first set. Norrie is serving at 4-5 and 30 love. Nakashima hits a net cord winner and them suddenly the set is over. The reaction? Nothing but a towel point and to his chair where he sits up right looking straight ahead and sipping a blue drink.

Nakashima shows zero emotion. He plays like a tennis machine terminator. Total focus. Between points it’s on to the next. Every step he takes has purpose. There are no pouts or random glances to the audience. Perfect body language.

The second set is the same story. Norrie raises his intensity but nothing bothers the terminator. In the last game with Norrie serving for survival, Nakashima rips a backhand pass winner that a guy behind me calls “The shot of the day.” Nakashima again shows no emotional reaction after the shot. Same thing on the next point a running forehand winner up the line for a match point. Norrie finally hits his last shot long and it’s over. Finally Nakashima expresses emotion for making his first ATP quarterfinal. He bashfully raises his hands half way up.

After the match at the press conference with eight reporter’s he reveals some scoops. Coached by Larry Stefanki for four and a half years. Just started with Pat Cash. Knew he could play this pro level because he had a lot of close practice matches in the last few years with the likes of Fritz, Querrey, Giron, Johnson. He just needed the opportunity to do it on a pro court. This is why he told me he is not overwhelmed by the situation. He already knows he can play with the best players in the world.

We did a biofile after the press conference. Nakashima actually seemed to struggle with some of my questions like last book read and funny memory more than he did on court with Norrie and Vesely in the first round, also a straight set win. Nakashima shows struggle in his facial expressions which he did not in the match. Offbeat questions from left field are handled though like the best shots from the best players. He gives a superb biofile which I will post this weekend.

The Nakashima game is super solid and consistent and executed like a ten year veteran. His mental strength and maturity are what impress the most. He does nothing wrong. He has every shot and perfect technique and speed and heavyweight power when needed. He reminds me of an eastern Europe boxing champ Gennady Golovkin. A perfect athletic champion machine both mentally and physically.

Nakashima can save American tennis. His potential is that high. A very long way to go of course but already so many important steps have been taken.

The next obstacle in the way of the Nakashima machine is Yoshihito Nishioka who bested Noah Rubin today 6162.

I highly advise all tennis observers to watch Nakashima very soon. You will not be disappointed. And that is 100% guaranteed.

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152 comments

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 23, 2020 at 9:10 am

    Andrew. Good question. Maybe just an awful first set and he found and applied his A game.

  • Harold · February 23, 2020 at 11:53 am

    Nishioka is in a zone, unfortunately the zone is 9 hours and at least 15 hours of flying. 24 of the next 40 hours. He wins, bet he withdraws

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