WATCH: Nakashima defeated Czech youngster Jiri Lehecka to join an elite squad of Next Gen Finals winners that includes Stefanos Tsitsipas and Carlos Alcaraz.


It’s all going according to plan for Brandon Nakashima, who ends a breakout 2022 season with a sweeping victory at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.

In a company of former champions that includes Stefanos Tsitsipas, Jannik Sinner, and Carlos Alcaraz, the 21-year-old California native will aim to parlay his own Next Gen victory into success next season after reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon and finishing the year ranked inside the Top 50.

Nakashima caught up with after winning his first ATP title at home in San Diego, opening up about the state of American tennis, what inspired him to get into the game, and a few more quick-fire questions: What do you make of the state of American tennis after such a great season from its younger players?
Brandon Nakashima:
I think American tennis is in a great spot right now, and is continually improving. You have all these guys ranked in the Top 100 that have such unique styles in their games. I think all of them can make a big run or a big impact in our sport, for sure. It’s nice to see the fellow Americans doing well. We sort of build off each other, and obviously we all have pretty good relationships, as well, so that definitely is a big part of American tennis.

TENNIS: What is one match you remember watching that inspired you to pursue professional tennis?
I think it was Federer vs. Nadal at the 2008 Wimbledon final. I remember watching it as a kid and it was something I always wanted to emulate.

TENNIS: How do you like to spend a free day when you’re at a tournament?
I usually like to walk around the city a little bit, look around, and get a feel for the community and culture there. Nothing too exhausting, just a light walk!

TENNIS: What’s on your pre-match playlist?
In general, I listen to a lot of pop, hip-hop music.

TENNIS: What are some of your go-to follows on social media?
I follow all my local sports teams, the local baseball team, the NFL team. They moved to LA but I still follow them.

TENNIS: Which emojis do you use most often?
Probably the laughing-crying emoji is the one I use most often, but the one on its side. Not too many people know that I do like to joke around a lot with close friends and family.