With his calm and collected on-court demeanor, many would believe Brandon Nakashima was an ATP Tour veteran. However, he only turned pro in 2019 and in that short timeframe has grown from the losses, improved and kept his goals at the forefront.

The American is in the midst of a breakout season, having reached back-to-back hard court finals in Los Cabos and Atlanta and is currently the youngest American in the Top 100. But, Nakashima has more to prove.

"Playing all these top guys at these high-level events and just getting those opportunities to play them on the biggest stages," Nakashima told Baseline. "I think I can learn a lot from all those opportunities and I'm just trying to develop my game as much as possible and keep improving. Hopefully I'll be able to win one of those ATP tournaments in the future."

The 20-year-old from San Diego struggled during the clay and grass swings but saw it as an opportunity to improve and grow as a player. He credits his solid mentality and the long and hard hours on the practice court for his steady upward climb.

Nakashima and 13 other Americans are within the Top 100 which marks the first time since 1996, but he's not worried about this stat, the results of his countryman or the race to Milan. Although he's always happy to see Sebastian Korda and Jenson Brooksby doing well, the world No. 86 is locked in on taking his game to the next level.

"I think for me it's just a matter of focusing on myself right now to get to that next level and keep improving as much as possible," Nakashima said.


Having a couple of solid practices under his belt in Cincinnati, Nakashima is excited to get back to work and prove he's got what it takes to not only compete but beat the world's best. He's set to begin his campaign at the Masters 1000 event against countryman Mackenzie McDonald. The two last battled at a Challenger event in Orlando last year, Nakashima notched a straight-set victory in the quarterfinals en route to capturing the Orlando Open title.

"We're obviously playing a lot better right now, we're both on hot streaks and both feeling confident out there," Nakashima said. "He's a pretty good friend of mine, we practice a lot together. I think it will be a good battle between us, two Americans going at each other at a big tournament in the U.S."

While the overall goal is to keep improving, he's determined to make a deep run at the Open and collect his first ATP title by the end of 2021. With his tranquil on-court demeanor resembling that of 20-time major champion Roger Federer, he certainly gives himself every opportunity to prevail and will look to do so this week.

If Nakashima moves past McDonald, he will face world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev for the first time in his career.