On Day 1 of the Australian Open, defending men's title holder Rafael Nadal meets Jack Draper in the third match on Rod Laver Arena. The winner is guaranteed to play an American in the second round.

Brandon Nakashima will be that guy, if he can find a way past countryman Mackenzie McDonald. The San Diego, Calif. native entered the new year on the back of a season of consistent forward progress that led to his first Top 50 finish. He closed by running the table at the Next Gen ATP Finals, succeeding Carlos Alcaraz as the event's newest winner.

Baseline caught up with the world No. 49 ahead of his trek Down Under. Our Beginner’s Guide—in Nakashima’s words:


Nakashima achieved his career-high ranking of No. 43 this past October.

Nakashima achieved his career-high ranking of No. 43 this past October.

What stood out last season?

“The goal is always to keep working on the game and keep working hard out there. I had some goals at the beginning of the year and now looking back, I would say I achieved most of them.

“On court would definitely have to be playing on Centre Court at Wimbledon. That was a huge experience for me, stepping out on that court where so much history has been played on. And to have a good match and go five sets on there (against Nick Kyrgios) was a great feeling.

“Off the court, some places that I really enjoyed was at the beginning of the year, I went to Australia and it was the first time for me going there. Tokyo, was also the first time as well. Traveling and experiencing new things out in the world is super special for a young person like myself. I think the ATP Tour is great with that.”


The team behind him

“My main coach is Eduardo Infantino, and he's also going to be sharing some weeks in 2023 with Franco Davin. We worked together for the second half of [last] year. And it's worked out great together. We'll have a fitness coach and physio traveling to some tournaments as well.”

Brother Bryce follows in NCAA footsteps

“He has grown into a pretty independent person, I would say. When he was deciding his college route and his decision, I didn't really want to get in the way too much and just let him figure out on his own. I told him if he had any questions or wanted to know anything, I would be 100% open to helping him. He handled it all on his own and was finding his own path out there. So I'm super proud of him. He's been working hard the past couple years and practicing a lot.

“I would definitely recommend college to any junior player to have that stepping stone. I'll always remember my college experience at UVA.”

2023 Targets

“I would like to try to break into the Top 20, Top 25 as soon as possible.”

“I want to do well at all the Grand Slam tournaments, making the second week.”

Stat Sheet

  • Coming off 35-23 season record (ATP includes five Next Gen ATP Finals match wins)
  • Won first ATP title in his hometown of San Diego on September 25, 2022 (d. Giron)
  • Beat No. 22 Isner at 2021 US Open, No. 16 Shapovalov at 2022 Wimbledon and No. 19 Dimitrov at 2022 US Open
  • 34-18 lifetime in tiebreaks at tour level
  • Defending 0 points at the Australian Open
  • Seeking first career Top 10 win in 2023