Tennis Prose



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.



  • Jeff · February 19, 2020 at 10:01 pm


    We are way ahead of you since me and Andrew watched him take Tiafoe to the wire in Dallas. I was very impressed too. At first I was like, what is wrong with Tiafoe getting outplayed but then I realized the guy on the other side had game. Foe even said he was lucky to come back and take it. I couldn’t believe he was 18.

    Nakajima could be the next star the U.S. needs for sure. Not surprised he had trouble with your questions because he comes off as a tennis machine!

  • Jeff · February 19, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    Big story on the ATP site on Pat Cash working with Nakashima. Also another scoop that Nakashima is working with former Big 10 doubles champ Beauregard Treyz – one of the great names in tennis.

  • Andrew Miller · February 19, 2020 at 10:17 pm

    Yes, agree with Jeff, Nakashima very good – he’s subtle in terms of his demeanor on court. Tiafoe couldn’t put him away and had to go for the war of attrition (I thought it was a savvy move by Tiafoe – and Tiafoe seemed like he was able to do it because of the physio). Otherwise Nakashima would seem tired but magically still be in the match – it was like a boxer who seems out of it yet is right there in the scoreline. I think he needs some work on some things, but like a few young US players (I’d say Seb Korda) his groundstrokes are very sound, he likes competing, shows zero – gotta beat him.

    I’m very surprised by these big wins against Vesely and Norrie – two guys that have been playing well this year, Vesely even with a tour win over another tough out Gerasimov (who is still doing well).

    Yeah, I think he has work to do on the fitness and some strategy side, but he does many good things and winning like this is uncommon.

  • Andrew Miller · February 19, 2020 at 10:18 pm

    If any challenger matches anyone enjoyed let me know! I am trying to get caught up on different players from all tours.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 19, 2020 at 11:06 pm

    Nakashima impressed me today as much as any 18 yr old I ever saw. I didn’t see any weaknesses. He is a rookie giving out lessons to VETERANS. School is in session and the kid is doing the teaching. America has been waiting a long time for this.

  • Jeff · February 20, 2020 at 12:44 am

    To put this into perspective, the top 6 Americans in the rankings now are 1 – Isner 2 – Fritz 3 – Querrey 4 – Opelka 5 – Sandgren and 6 – Paul.

    Isner and Querrey are vets on their way down, we saw Fritz flop this week, Opelka has his limits. Sandgren I thought would challenge for the top American but he can nly play well down under apparently. That leaves Tommy Paul, who has a big match vs Foe this week.

    The point is that Nakashima can quickly climb the American ladder. By the end of 2021, he could be the top U.S. player. It is very possible.

  • catherine · February 20, 2020 at 6:51 am

    Federer out for 4 months after knee surgery. This means until grass court season.

  • Hartt · February 20, 2020 at 7:34 am

    That is terrible news about Fed, especially missing a big chunk of the season including IW and Miami.

  • catherine · February 20, 2020 at 7:39 am

    Not sure where to put Dubai – so many threads. But Rybakina bts Ka Pliskova and continues her rise and Mugs is losing 1st set to Brady – I can see Garbine going out here, she probably feels she’s done enough.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 20, 2020 at 8:09 am

    Agree Jeff. Nakashima could save American tennis. Seeing this youngster rise will give other Americans extra incentive to keep up.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 20, 2020 at 8:10 am

    When did Federer hurt his knee? Looked fine vs Djokovic in AO.

  • Krzysztof · February 20, 2020 at 8:29 am

    I saw Nakashima vs Tiafoe on Youtube, but nothing special. Just hitting a ton of balls, even not with James Blake speed of shots, more Spanish like style of playing. It becomes more and more boring because tennis gets so one-dimensional without some diversity. Just have a look at Vasek Pospisil. This guy can play from baseline, he can rip winners, he can hit subtle volleys. Nakashima just bashes the ball and sometimes hits a dropshot. It is not enough.

  • Harold · February 20, 2020 at 8:49 am

    Fed reads TP, saw Scoop questioning his health after Sandgren, then calling him a fraud because he didn’t limp properly against Djoker, then played his SA exo, doubting anything and everything, he says, so he opted for Surgery just to make Scoop crazier in his conspiracy in everything attitude.

    Hope Fed doesn’t eat Pizza, might end up in another conspiracy

  • catherine · February 20, 2020 at 9:25 am

    Fed says his knee has been bothering him for a while. Story on ubitennis and other sites. I scent no conspiracy.

    Mugs goes out to Brady who’s having a good tournament – 3 sets and looks as if Garbine ran out off puff in the end.

  • catherine · February 20, 2020 at 9:34 am

    If it’s not Coco it’s her father – Corey Gauff wins PTR Touring Coach of the Year Award. But what’s special about a touring coach ? Do groundlings not qualify ?

    Re Federer – in 2016 He had surgery on a torn miniscus – sound familiar ?

  • Andrew Miller · February 20, 2020 at 9:44 am

    Catherine, Mugs tanks in a soft way 🙂 Gets her real world match play then heads home. Think she has any records in mind to break? Aranxta slam count?

  • Andrew Miller · February 20, 2020 at 9:45 am

    Brady IS doing well this week

  • Andrew Miller · February 20, 2020 at 9:47 am

    Old man is injured. What did all expect. Maybe he and Bianca will play solitaire.

  • Jon King · February 20, 2020 at 10:15 am

    Scoop, I don’t think many teens these days or ever from now on will be able to answer the ‘last book read’ question.

    Most of these tennis kids have to online school to keep up with travel. Excerpts are taken from books, then they are tested on those. For example, our tennis girls are doing a block lesson this month of “The Old Man and the Sea”. But its not in book form really.

    That question might nave to be retired for the under 20s. Maybe ask them what their favorite computer coding system is instead!

  • Andrew Miller · February 20, 2020 at 10:25 am

    Nakashima needs some physio help. That said many players of the past had lazy footwork until they didn’t. If the guy does the work, sure, he could be the top US player in short order – given I’m off on most of this prediction stuff I’ll say “by age 20”, or in two years. Eventually, based on the promise of his game alone, I think Seb Korda, aka Korda the Younger, could also rise high – he has more shots, but probably not the physio. These guys all fail at that level of being able to weather conditions, etc.

    Personally I would love for Tiafoe and Tommy Paul to rise as well. It’s been great to see Tommy Paul play more to his potential and especially to put in the work. Tiafoe I think has more ambition than he’s credited, but his consistency (like all US players save Isner, Querrey) is a question mark that never gets answered.

  • Andrew Miller · February 20, 2020 at 10:29 am

    Sad on books stuff. Someone should be thousands of Scoop books and other famous tennis books and hand them to players, as well as some classics. Some players are big readers, Kirilenko was totally into the Russian classics. It’s a better investment from the ATP, WTA end than whatever they are dumping into their websites. The ATP site is also malfunctioning on certain stats sites! I am surprised these organizations take their basic information so lightly.

    They. Just. Don’t. Care. Biggest sinecure in tennis. I have no idea how they pay their presidents, only that they pay them well for apparently so little other than smothering bad news and putting up good content every so often.

  • Andrew Miller · February 20, 2020 at 10:32 am

    Rio: young Alcaraz loses in 3 to F. Coria. Still wonder how he got his wildcard, even though I know how he got his wildcard. IMG the management agency with big bucks on the line just asked for it. Can’t make much noise down in Rio – players there may be like why is this kid in the draw, but I don’t know how many players are fighting to be a part of the Rio open. Not many. You can pull that off in Rio, but not at, say, Indian Wells I don’t think.

  • Andrew Miller · February 20, 2020 at 10:32 am

    Jon, sad on books end. Not sure how kids today will manage without actual books.

  • catherine · February 20, 2020 at 10:34 am

    Jon – I’m with you on the books and the ingestion of information in bits. Friend of mine taught a couple of semesters at Cornell and it drove her mad, the reluctance to read a ‘whole book’. It’s a generational change. We’ll regret it, IMO. ‘The Old Man & the Sea’ isn’t very long.

    Andrew – that’s it – ‘tanks in a soft way’. Garbine lives in Switzerland I believe. Maybe relaxes with the scenery – or Mugs up the Matterhorn ? Don’t know if she thinks about records – maybe one Slam a year until her dance card is full. Not for the long haul.

  • Andrew Miller · February 20, 2020 at 10:36 am

    Catherine, quite a run from Brady. Mugs, as far as I can tell, gets her real world match play in, says to herself “good enough for this week” and heads home for a break. Or wherever she goes next. One of the few players I think in tennis history that can play one regular tournament, win a few matches, exit that tournament (deliberately or otherwise), enter a slam and be a favorite to win it within a few days.

  • Jeff · February 20, 2020 at 10:43 am

    No question Fed is gearing up for Wimbledon after last year. He has always shown no respect to the Parisian crowds and is done playing the French Open forever, more than likely. Still, amazing effort by him last year there, much respect.

    Millennial generation does not believe in reading books. They think they are smarter and can get their information through videos. That is why so many web sites only have video content.

    Poor Djokovic, his dad continues to bash Fed. There may be substance to what he is saying but a poor look.

  • Andrew Miller · February 20, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Catherine, for what it’s worth, believe same, we’ll regret generations growing up without reading. They are doing the equivalent of passing by thousands of years of accumulated wisdom and saying “whatever!”, consequences be —–. At least the books are still there (for now). Astonishing.

    Someone, a student and young professional, once said to me they were very pleased they could access all their coursework from a Kindle or ipad. They had said it beats lugging around books (though she did not have arthritis, etc). Made me pretty sad. I don’t know if they read the books, but I think the odds are extremely low.

  • Andrew Miller · February 20, 2020 at 10:46 am

    Jeff, I am sorry for generation whatever and their terrible relationship with books. I think it’s a mistake.

  • Jon King · February 20, 2020 at 10:53 am

    Yeah, books are fading fast. The attention spans get shorter and shorter. Also, the skill of being able to read a person’s body language and expressions is being lost.

    I grew up in the family business where we had to sell and build rapport and notice things. When you sat waiting by the desk of the secretary, you noticed her family photos, her expression and mood, her accent, etc. All information you could use to build a rapport and get in to see the higher ups.

    Even a job interview is tough on kids today, they do not have much experience actually talking face to face and not texting. We went with one girl in our group to get her driving learner’s permit and when the lady asked her to sign her name, nope. She had never written cursive in her life and had to print her name in block letters on the signature line.

  • jg · February 20, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Nakashima went to UVA for a year–he had to read something, no?

  • catherine · February 20, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Andrew – Muguruza played very well in the first set, really pounded the ball and then she seemed to lose interest, or energy, or thinking where to go next. How to keep it up is something she can work on. Mobility is a problem for tall players but Mugs moves well, quite fluid.

    All credit to Brady, stayed cool.

    Fans are strange – some of them don’t like Garbine now because she doesn’t smile much, doesn’t fake grins and stuff and therefore must be arrogant. She’s not 21 any more, she’s 26 and dealing with life. Strikes me as a pretty honest person. But no pleasing the fan mentality.

  • catherine · February 20, 2020 at 11:16 am

    Jon – I think in the UK a printed signature isn’t acceptable in many cases. Don’t they teach kids how to write ?

    I also think, from my experience, that a lot of young people seriously can’t tell the difference between an original piece of work and something off the internet. Sometimes they get a big surprise when (if) they get to a decent university and find their essays returned and their plagiarism noted.

    Maybe the WTA has it right – a few big pictures and some short text at a basic level. That’s the future.

  • Harold · February 20, 2020 at 11:16 am

    I could understand if the kid Alcaraz got blown out in the first round, he won a round, and the next round he took a pro to 3 sets. It’s a freaking business, why wouldn’t the tournament try to get a relationship with the a 16 year old kid that MIGHT( I’m not sure, though kid has off the charts touch on the dropper)be great..

    If IMG runs him, better get some antacids because they might wildcard Alcaraz into Miami, a tournament IMG owns

  • Jon King · February 20, 2020 at 11:27 am

    catherine, they have removed cursive writing from the core curriculum of US schools. So I guess kids will just put an X for their signatures!

  • Harold · February 20, 2020 at 11:33 am

    Rio is a 500, The top seed is the number 4 in the world..not Delray where the top seed is number 20 and the only place to see him was the indoor basketball court..

    Maybe if Tommy Paul goes to Rio it’ll mean something

  • Andrew Miller · February 20, 2020 at 11:41 am

    Harold re antacids I’ll need some TUMS for this wildcard shenanigan stuff 🙂 Yeah, for me, the wildcards drive me a little crazy. Lots of players slugging it out to get into the first round and for all of that effort others gifted into the first round. I think if they wildcard they should wildcard into the qualies for the tournament and if the player can pull a Brooksby wonderful, good job kiddo!

    Another way to look at it of course, what does the player do with that gift (which is what it is, it’s a gift). Some players use that opportunity well – Mac McDonald took a wildcard into the Cincy qualies to ride his backhand to the main draw there a while back. We know the Linz story of Ms. Gauff, who lost her qualies final match and then LL lucky loser into the draw to win the whole thing. Mr. Alcaraz the sixteen year old made the most of it, winning a round against a really good player and then pushing it against another guy in the top 120 or so in F. Coria. That’s a nice result for a wildcard given to a kid that spends most of his time on the futures.

    I am sure I will lose my hat when all these guys get WC into Miami 🙂

  • Andrew Miller · February 20, 2020 at 11:45 am

    Marseille, France: Shapovalov d. Cilic! That doubles play last week looking like the smart money. He didn’t win today because of last week’s doubles, but I believe he felt less pressure because he had a better feeling about Rotterdam by the time he was done there.

    Medvedev rounding corner on Sinner. Thought Sinner might shock it to him and he won the first set huge, 6-1, Medvedev woke up and about to slam the door on the kid.

  • catherine · February 20, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    Sascha Bajin is getting weirder and weirder – sending public twitters to Yastremska to encourage her and a number of other odd things – all this naturally from T-T. Dayana hasn’t set the world on fire since Sascha signed up with her. Naomi did right.

    And why is he referred to as ‘the German coach’ – does he work for the DTB now ? Don’t think so. He’s never coached a German in his life.

  • catherine · February 20, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    Kontaveit fails again – out to Martic 6-7 6-1

  • Dan Markowitz · February 20, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    Callum’s coach brought a number of players to the 12’s clay court nationals five or so years ago and he was walking by a court when he heard the sound of shots coming off a racquet and it sounded perfect. He asked one of the coaches what was the name of the boy producing such shots and sounds and was told he was Nakashima.

    Do you really think as Asian-American can have such an upside on American tennis? I don’t. I think back to Chang and realistically, is Nakashima going to be as good as Chang? and while he had an upside on American tennis, the Reebok shoes, the long racquet he used, I don’t think too many Americans got enthused over Chang. It was all Agassi and to a smaller degree Sampras and to an even smaller degree Courier. Then came Chang, who didn’t have an effervescent personality and like Krystof is speaking about Nakashima, played a game that didn’t excite many Americans or anyone else.

    Sure he was a boon for short players in the sense that they could compete for the #1 ranking and that probably motivated a Hewitt or a Coria and Chang got ridiculed even by Agassi, who I remember watching practice one night late in an empty Cincy stadium court with Brad Gilbert and Agassi said something to the effect of “Chang can’t even reach into his pocket to get the ball out of it is his arms are so short.” (Agassi when he saw me write this and other remarks into my notebook then came over to me and threatened–in not so many words–to give him my notebook which I did not do).

  • Andrew Miller · February 20, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    jg right, Nakashima indeed a year of college tennis.

    Think it’s the Nakashima as you can’t tell, he just beats you anyways. He’s nonchalant, but you can tell there is some serious ambition there.

    Isnt’ this the Southern California way of Sampras, kind of like Fritz too? It could be mistaken for a guy sleeping at the wheel, but he’s just not giving anyone any indication that he’s there for any other reason than to win.

    I couldn’t figure out how he managed to stay in the Tiafoe match, until (a) he was winning his service games very easily (b) he continued to put a lot of pressure on Tiafoe on serve return games. I thought Tiafoe played well to keep Nakashima at bay (eg the war of attrition, mixing it up – good all around tactics), and it STILL took almost to the very last second to take out Nakashima.

    He’s tough. I don’t think his legs are there yet or his strength, he must not be working much on any of that basic core stuff that turns a very good player into a top 50 talent.

  • Andrew Miller · February 20, 2020 at 12:48 pm

    Wow, downplaying Chang. Huge impact, inspired many players I grew up around. We were all lucky to have Chang, Agassi, Sampras. A few guys that didn’t inspire: Wheaton, Martin, Krickstein, Goldie etc. A guy that should have inspired more players and for some odd reason did not: Mal Washington.

    To this day, loved Mal Washington, how he went after it. One of most professional pros ever. Guy was like a rock!!!

  • Harold · February 20, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    Washington’s fathers letters weekly to Tennis Week were legendary.. Papa Williams took it to the next level..

  • Andrew Miller · February 20, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    Yep, Rybakina, Martic doing well in Dubai. Martic reminds me of a more athletic Pennetta, at least in terms of her frame. A little stronger and more athletic. Has a hard time in the later rounds of events. Rybakina still tearing it up in 2020.

  • Jeff · February 20, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    Even college curriculums are not using books. They use textbooks sure but not the kind of books you and me used to read. And a lot of the material is online nowadays. This is why college tuition is rising so much, the race to technology is making it more expensive

  • Andrew Miller · February 20, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    Rio: any wrap on Thiago Wild? He was tabbed as one to watch for generation upcoming. He was 0 for 2020 until the Rio event.

  • catherine · February 20, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    Simona bts Sabalenka in Dubai – 3 sets 6-2 6-2 running through Aryna to finish. A bit disappointed Saba couldn’t give her a tougher fight but haven’t seen the match report or highlights. Halep getting her game back – she should win this.

  • Harold · February 20, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    Seems like a smart kid

    “When I spend time with tennis greats like Rafa Nadal or Ferrero or any other player, I don’t say anything. I listen to everything they say.”

    Welcome to the ATP Tour Carlos Alcaraz!

  • Andrew Miller · February 20, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    Halep ruining dreams in Dubai, beating Jabeur and Sabalanka, gets Brady next. Final set not competitive enough for Sabalenka, has to be able to push that. Not that she’d win, but she’d make Halep work even harder for it.

  • Hartt · February 20, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    FAA just won a crazy match in Marseille vs Herbert. He fed Herbert a bagel in the first set, but then P-HH played much better in the 2nd set and ultimately won the TB. Then an extremely close 3rd set, when FAA had about 3 MPs on the Herbert serve, but could not convert.

    The third set TB kept going back and forth, with Herbert in particular making some unbelievable shots. But then he made a very costly DF, and FAA hit an ace to win the match. I am not sure I can handle any more drama after that match!

1 2 3 4



Find it!

Copyright 2010
To top