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.



  • Scoop Malinowski · February 20, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    Brady is super fit now! Her body is totally different. Like a swimmer or model. Not surprised by these results.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 20, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    Pat Cash told me he loves the kids head and the need is to make him physically stronger.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 20, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    When did Federer hurt the knee? The south African exo?

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 20, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Mal w Washington. Great career. History books. Not a big guy but he grinded. Nice guy too.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 20, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    Nakashima very interesting character. Very controlled focused. Got some cool insights from his other coach Hesitated Treyz. They are working on some mental things that nobody talks about. Stay tuned…

  • Jeff · February 20, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    Spellcheck got you, Scoop, that is Beauregard Treyz.

    Tommy Paul goes down to Tiafoe. Foe probably realized he has fallen behind all of these guys and he sees Nakashima coming up as well. Time to get serious.

    Amazing match between FAA and PHH. Felix saves match point again and wins the 3rd set tiebreaker 11-9. The second set tiebreak ended on an incredible point in favor of the French. Felix plays Goffin or Gerasimov next.

  • Andrew Miller · February 20, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    Agreed, what an exciting Felix AA-PHH match! Thought after that emotional tiebreak PHH would stake a claim, and Felix, wow, good match for him.

  • Jeff · February 20, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    According to social media, Kyrgios practicing at Delrsay so his wrist has healed. The speculation is he didn’t want to play his good buddy Tommy Paul and then Foe.

    What say you Scoop since you are there?

  • Harold · February 20, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    If that’s anywhere near true that’s a horrible look for Kyrgios. He’s the higher ranked, he’s the one that probably took an appearance fee. Even if by some chance Kyrgios goes flying up the rankings, he owes Delray a freebie

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 20, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    I was told kyrgios hit with Sock today and last night was spotted in a bar on Atlantic inebriated. Spec is he was used to sell tickets. Given a free vaca week in Delray. Regardless thus tournament has played out fantastic. Many good story angles. Actually better off without Delpo and nick. We are seeing some new faces emerge in Kwon Humbert Nakashima.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 20, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    Store it under it’s good to be young and naive category. My son was invited to take part in a clinic at a new club tonight. The tennis director knows Cal is 13 and ranked #25 in the nation in the USTA 14’s so he had him hit with this young Chilean pro named Guillermo who once was no. 9 in the world in the juniors and beat Khachanov in the French Open juniors quarters. This guy just graduated from TCU where he played college ball. I’m watching the ball whiz back and forth like meteors and every once in a while Guillermo will just rocket a winner. Callum didn’t know his background as a player, but on a break he comes over to me and says: “Thus guy’s pretty good.”

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 20, 2020 at 10:14 pm

    My theory is they didntbwant to pay the full appearance fee. Just whatever figure to have Nick in Delray without playing. A paid vaca. Needed a star to attract after Delpo dropped out. The tournament has lucked out with a dream draw play out. Sock story. Nakashima breakout. Tiafoe re emergence. Nishioka. Humbert. I think Nakashima can win this title.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 20, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    The fact Nick stayed here all week is curious. Sticking with my theory.

  • Harold · February 20, 2020 at 11:18 pm

    Didn’t two night sessions get screwed. They had the Bryans play the Harrison’s..bad move by the promoter. After the first day the crowds looked good

  • Hartt · February 21, 2020 at 7:00 am

    Milos did not play very well yesterday, especially in the first set, and was lucky to get the win. That said, he can certainly up his level, and I hope he takes the Delray title. It’s about time he, and his fans, had some good news. Of course this means he has to get through the tourney without injury.

  • catherine · February 21, 2020 at 8:39 am

    News we were all waiting for: Bianca w/draws from Doha.

    If she also withdraws from IW then I think we can kiss goodbye to her season.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 21, 2020 at 9:14 am

    Maybe Kyrgios did not approve of the appearance fee. We will never know the true story. Has Nakashimamania begun yet? Why aren’t the media going into hysteria over what Nakashima is doing?

  • Jon King · February 21, 2020 at 9:24 am

    Nakashima would have to win several slams before the US sports media would care. American male tennis player do not move the needle because they compete with so many other American male sports stars.

    Heck Kenin is already forgotten….but if Gauff walks her dog, or plays an exhibition vs a 4’10” college player, the media will report it and she would fill aa stadium.

    The US sports media decides who has ‘it’….Kenin no, Gauff yes, Nakashima…..nah, show Zion Williamson walking into the tunnel at a game instead!

  • Dan Markowitz · February 21, 2020 at 9:32 am

    It all depends, from what I’ve heard from junior coaches, Nakashima has no weapons; not particularly fun to watch even a champion play if he’s not excitiing. Wilander won 7 slams and he never floated my boat. Kenin is barely watchable; her game is fine, but there’s a certain strangeness about her. She doesn’t draw eyeballs; there’s a certain distance about her.

    Now you take Andreescu or even a Sock; I know they’re not on the same level anymore as one is a Grand Slam champion and the other is struggling to stay on tour. They let people in; their games are interesting. They’re not afraid of showing their human side and emotion.

  • Jon King · February 21, 2020 at 9:54 am

    True Dan, the media does not do things without thought, research, etc. They know what works, and what does not. Whatever their metrics, likeability, a story that intrigues, etc. some have it, some do not. Gauff has it in spades, Kenin does not.

  • Harold · February 21, 2020 at 10:02 am

    Wilander was the foil, the grinder, he was the straight Guy on the court.Promoters thought he was so boring, they put him and Edberg on at 10 am( pissed them both off)in the 88 semi’s at the USO, Lendl/Agassi was the featured match, because of a toupee and denim shorts on the 18 year old wunderkid. Wilander rolled Edberg pretty easily, so maybe they got it right..Maybe if Social Media was around in the 80’s and the lives those guys were leading off the court, would make today’s players Sesame Street characters, as due to having everyone on the planet walking around w/ a camera, their lives are scripted for Instagram.

    The job of a tennis player is to win matches. Entertaining, showing emotion, isn’t what Junior coaches probably worry about. You can grow the game w/ the JMacs, Kyrgios, and Safins, or you can grow the game w/ Fed, Sampras, Edberg, or Wilander. Each fan has someone to root for, and against.

    I guess Nakishima will be the 30th guy this site has already put in the very overcrowded top 10.. you have to really suck if no one here saw you win a 250 match and didn’t pronounce you “ The Future”, or in need of immediately hiring Spadea

  • catherine · February 21, 2020 at 10:37 am

    Rybakina bts Martic SS to reach the final in Dubai.Good player Rybakina and probably top 10 soon but I can’t see mania building, except maybe in Kazakhstan.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 21, 2020 at 10:51 am

    Kenin is not strange. She’s a champion. She reminds me of the girl next door, a cheerleader for the high school team. 100% normal girl and a champion on the court. Strange? Maybe Rios is a little strange.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 21, 2020 at 10:51 am

    Nakashima has some major weapons. To say he has no weapons is fake news. Watch him today at 230 vs Nishioka.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 21, 2020 at 10:52 am

    Jon I agree, the media makes the stars they want to make. Just like pop music today, they manufacture the stars they want to install. Pro wrestling too. Boximg in America is going the same way.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 21, 2020 at 10:55 am

    I’ve become a big fan of Nakashima this week. Usually like the colorful flashy players but this kid is a machine. No fear. Great attitude. Serious game. Already has an aura mystique. We’re gonna be seeing a lot of Nakashima.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 21, 2020 at 11:27 am


    You must not have a lot of faith in journalists which is odd because you’ve written a lot of articles for different publications. Are you lying when you write these articles? I’ve never had an editor or publisher tell me which idea or slant/angle I should writing in an article.

    Guys like Agassi do not become phenoms because the media. The reporters follow and write about what they see the other players, fans and coaches are paying attention to and getting excited about. Agassi, Johnny Mac, Kyrgios, they’re not media-concoctions. They captivated fans of the game and sport because they played with such brilliance and then their stories were relatable or sensational, yeah, a kid who grows up in Queens, NY, who’s father is a dreeby-looking lawyer and the kid plays tennis like he’s wielding an art brush not a racquet and is super-lingual and confrontational becomes one of the greatest players ever.

    That’s what gets people excited; not an article or a series of ads on tv about a player and that’s how they transcend the game. I just don’t see that charisma from Nakashima, but I’m willing to watch him. And of course coaches don’t try to coach a player, a junior, on his demeanor, but they’d be wise to coach players with flair to let the flair show and their personality come out.

  • Jon King · February 21, 2020 at 11:45 am

    Scoop, Dan is not alone. I have heard plenty of tennis kids at tournaments since say that Kenin is ‘weird’, ‘walks weird’, ‘looks weird’, she ‘looks horrible in a bikini’ on her IG. There is so much time between matches that kids talk and talk and talk so you hear their opinions on players, especially when they win.

    For whatever reason there is something about Kenin that turns people off because I have never heard anything like that about Serena, Venus, Madison Keys, Sloane, Anisimova.

    Something about Kenin elicits a negative reaction which bothers me because I love the story of her and her dad.

  • Jon King · February 21, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    I see Halep destroyed Brady. Thought Brady would put up more of a fight than that.

  • catherine · February 21, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    Jon – Kenin just seems an ordinary young woman to me, if you saw her in the supermarket you wouldn’t give a second glance, but because she’s a tennis player, public figure, won a GS she has to look, behave in a certain way. Rather nasty things to say: ‘weird’, ‘walks weird’, ‘looks weird’ and may not be a winner in a bikini. I would bet it’s mainly girls making those comments – girls can be pretty unpleasant about someone who doesn’t fit the mould. Real bullies. Boys aren’t like that.

    I feel a little sorry for her.

  • Harold · February 21, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    Maybe Kenin needs to play some matches without the visor pulled down as far as it can go but still able to see. Maybe if someone saw some joy in her tennis…

  • catherine · February 21, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    Brady put it all in her previous matches and Simona finally found her form.

    Not sure how much Dubai and Doha matter.

  • catherine · February 21, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    Harold: ‘joy’ isn’t something you can call up on demand. Kenin may want to concentrate on her game. Nothing wrong there surely.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 21, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    See, people get it wrong. If you can’t see just from general observation that there’s something a little off or odd about Kenin, then congratulations, you’ve passed the human being test. You are a non-judgmental being, but for us less-evolved folks, when we look at Kenin and the way she struts rather robotically around the court; wears her visor pulled down tight over her brow and just in general has a bit of an odd body with her legs not looking particularly defined and the dress tops that come down revealing her navel; she has a rather maniacal look about her.

    Kenin shouldn’t change anything about the way she looks or behaves on the court; it’s obviously worked for her. But she won’t be a Chris Evert or a Maria Sharapova and that’s just the way it is. She’s an intense person/player with not great people or social skills. The way she is and shuts out the outside world–she’s probably looking to change and seek more approval–is part of the reason why she’s so good.

  • Jon King · February 21, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    Yes, its the tennis girls who talk about the players for the most part. For whatever reason they love Gauff, Serena, Venus, and Sloane and absolutely dislike Kenin.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 21, 2020 at 12:17 pm

    In the last sentence of my previous post, I meant to say, “she’s probably not looking to change and seek approval.”

  • Jon King · February 21, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    I agree Dan, Kenin should not change a darn thing. Just be herself.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 21, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    Jon they are all jealous of Kenin and they have to try to take her down and make themselves feel good about themselves. Michael Spinks, the former boxing champion told me en we did a Biofile in the 90s he remembers blacks doing the same thing to Arthur Ashe in St Louis when he was a kid. He said they all talked shi7 about Ashe. But Spinks said he always loved and admired Ashe. Kenin is getting the same treatment as Ashe. Human nature I guess.

  • Harold · February 21, 2020 at 12:22 pm

    I think a little joy would tell fans, it’s not her and her dad against the world

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 21, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    Dan I see a quiet, humble, mysterious greatness in Nakashima. Let’s see if the media hops aboard the bandwagon as the results continue. Yes of course in tennis winning is what creates buzz and manias. Winning and a good story that fits media agendas helps. If they stop winning, it’s bye bye. It’s no secret to any of us the USTA and the media would prefer to see a young player of color, specifically black, become the next Arthur Ashe or Serena. The media wants to sell us that story hard. A nice quiet kid from Russia or a young Japanese American boy is not nearly as exciting as pushing the next Arthur Ashe or Williams sister. I don’t know why the mainstream media is not as in love with the ‘They came from Russia with no money and became a Grand Slam champ story?’ To me, it’s just as inspiring as seeing a black kid become great in tennis.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 21, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Don’t feel sorry for Kenin around here. She’s doing great and her dreams came true. She earned every bit of it the hard way. Who cares what some envious kids say, it aint worth ten cents what they say. Kenin looks just like all the cheerleaders I remember in high school. Normal nice pretty girl who lived next door. To say otherwise, is just ridiculous.

  • catherine · February 21, 2020 at 12:32 pm

    Rybakina has a nice net game. But it’s slightly incredible how well she’s playing and how little talk there is about her.

    Doha draw out – Barty back from injury. Kerber has joined Naomi and Serena in skipping Dubai/Doha – picking her tournaments now I’d guess.

  • catherine · February 21, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    Scoop – I said I feel a bit sorry for Kenin because I know how nasty girls can be with their personal comments. I can’t imagine Sofia really cares what anyone thinks at the moment – she just wants to go on winning.

  • Jon King · February 21, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    Scoop, the USTA player development is run by African American’s now. Not saying that is good or bad, just stating facts. Katrina Adams and Martin Blackman control what players get support. And Richard Ashby controls which girls get invited for training.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 21, 2020 at 12:36 pm

    Dr. Dan Markowitz evaluations of Kenin are crackpot and borderline nuts. She is a normal girl, I talked with her at Herr with Kozlov (didn’t do a Biofile to my regret). Nice girl, pleasant, sweet, very likeable. No bitchiness, no arrogance, no aloofness. Nice smiling young girl. And she lost her match that day too to Zidensek. To judge her and take cheap shots at her because of the way she plays and competes and walks around the court in the biggest matches of her life, is just nonsense bordering on insanity.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 21, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    Jon, Katrina Adams is out. Kent Kinnear and Kathy Rinaldi are also involved.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 21, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    Firstly, there’s not going to be a black American male champion tennis player no matter who runs the USTA Junior Development group. African-American don’t play tennis as far as I can see. I saw like one or two in the 14’s Winter Nationals. I am going to be at the USTA National Campus in Orlando in less than two weeks as I’m accompanying my son as he’s been invited to the 2006 birth year national camp.

    Kent Kinnear is the guy we’re dealing with as a national coach: Kinnear is not black. Look, the USTA is looking for anyone who can compete for a slam. It hasn’t happened in nearly 20 years. Kozlov got a lot of support from the USTA I believe; he’s white and Russian. You think the USTA didn’t support Chang when he was one of the top Americans?

    My son is half-Asian so I’d like to see an Asian boy make it big in tennis. But the fact of the matter is when I go to these national tournaments for boys, the majority of kids out there are Asian, then Indian then Russians/ Polea/Israelis. I don’t see but a few black boys.

    I’ll ask the coaches at the national camp about how they’re developing players and what they’re looking for.

  • Hartt · February 21, 2020 at 1:55 pm

    Jon Wertheim’s recent podcast was an interview with Kenin. He said he appreciated that she was willing to do an interview so early in the morning. She came across as a perfectly pleasant young woman. Among other things she talked about hoe excited she was to play Fed Cup.

    So many of the things she is being criticized for seem very superficial. Surely qualities like grit and determination, the willingness to work hard, a competitive spirit, and the ability to play well under pressure are more important for a tennis pro than the way she walks.

  • Hartt · February 21, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    As you know, I am a big Bianca fan. Now I have reason to be grateful to her. My main sports channel, TSN, has announced they will carry the WTA Mandatory and Premier 5 tourneys, as well as the WTA finals. They already carry the women’s matches in the Slams. (Another channel covers Rogers Cup.)

    So this will make a huge difference in my being able to see women’s matches. I am sure it is entirely because of Bianca, and Canadian fans being upset that they couldn’t see her matches. When Milos first burst on the scene he had the same influence on increased coverage of ATP matches.

  • catherine · February 21, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Hartt – I can understand your being grateful to Bianca but when are we going to see her again in tournaments ?

    She’s out of Doha, and can she go into IW without any competitive play ? Doesn’t seem likely to me. Perhaps Europe would be more realistic.

    Re knees – noticed Kevin Anderson has had a miniscus op and is now sidelined ‘indefinitely’ which is a shame.

    I agree the criticism of Kenin seems to me to have little to do with her qualities as a player.

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