WATCH: Brandon Nakashima defeats John Millman in the 2022 Atlanta second round
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Movement is one of Brandon Nakashima's strengths, and the rising American has had a rapid climb up the ATP ranks since he turned pro three years ago. Now, he's looking for even bigger breakthroughs—the sooner the better.

This week the 20-year-old is playing the Atlanta Open, where he reached the final in 2021—and if he can go a step further, he would win his first tour title.

“I think I have a good chance of winning here really,” Nakashima told “I enjoy the conditions here, I think I’m playing at a high level and I feel confident that I can win the tournament.”

But next up is a quarterfinal with good friend Frances Tiafoe, and though they've hit with each other on court and sometimes have dinner, Tiafoe leads 3-0 in tour meetings, including a win on hard courts in Miami this season.

“He’s beaten me pretty much every time, it’s been close matches every time but in Miami he definitely came through again,” Nakashima said. “We’re friends off the court, he’s a funny guy, a nice guy. It’s always cool to play against fellow Americans at these big tournaments.”


Still, Nakashima is gaining experience in these types of contests—he's coming off reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon, where eventual finalist Nick Kyrgios edged past him in a fifth set.

''It was super special walking onto Centre Court, playing against him with a full crowd, that was a great atmosphere," Nakashima said. "Once I won the fourth set going into the fifth, I was super pumped up and definitely thinking I had a good shot at winning. But he definitely raised his level quite a bit, and had some big shots to break.

"I was obviously a little disappointed, but I still had a good run at Wimbledon, and gained a lot of confidence from that match, and was definitely looking forward to getting back on the hard courts.”

Another inspiration was playing against three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray at the Surbiton Challenger event.


Nakashima, who reached a career-high No. 49 earlier this summer, is searching for his first ATP title after reaching two finals in 2021.

Nakashima, who reached a career-high No. 49 earlier this summer, is searching for his first ATP title after reaching two finals in 2021.

“I played with Andy Murray around London, and it was a super cool experience. It was kind of like a smaller level tournament,” Nakashima said.

“He’s such a legend of the sport and I really admire him coming back from an injury and still wanting to compete and play tennis right now. It was super nice to see him and share a court with him.”

Having reached the Top 100 in 2021 in his first full year on tour, a Top 50 ranking has followed this season—currently standing at No. 56 on tour. Some of that success he credits to his training at University of Virginia.

“I really connected with them and when I visited I really liked the campus and the whole atmosphere. I had a great time and definitely learned a lot,” Nakashima said. “I think it also helped me a lot to be away from home, with maturing and [helping to] prepare me for the professional tennis tour.”


Finishing his college season, Nakashima took some time off to play some pro events and had a lot of good wins. “At that point, I knew my game was ready for a professional tour," he noted.

More recently, he has changed coaches, saying he straightaway saw the effects during the grass-court events.

“Obviously the coaches have helped a lot, with every match I’ve been learning a lot about myself, learning some new things. When I lose these matches I’m always trying to work in a positive direction,” he said.

“Ever since the French Open I started with Eduardo Infantino. He was with me over there [during] the entire grass season at Wimbledon, he’s based there. It’s been great. I think that Eduardo will come to the U.S., maybe two weeks before the US Open.”

The eighth seed won against John Millman in the second round.