Brandon Nakashima: “I’m Trying To Get My Confidence Back!”

Brandon Nakashima (photo: Florian Heer)

GUIA DE ISORA/TENERIFE, January 20, 2024

Brandon Nakashima from the United States is one of the favourites for the title at the Tenerife Challenger 1. The former top 50 player, who clinched his maiden ATP Tour trophy on home soil at the 2022 San Diego Open and captured the NextGen ATP Finals title the same year, dropped in the rankings to 123rd position but is trying to get back on track this season.

After kicking off the new year down under, Nakashima has arrived on the Canary Islands to compete in the ATP Challenger Tour 100 event. Following his quarterfinal match win against Francesco Maestrelli of Italy, we met the 22-year-old Californian for an interview at the Abama Tennis Academy.

Tennis TourTalk: The Tenerife Challenger is still one of the first tournaments of 2024. How did you spend the off season?

Brandon Nakashima: We were working pretty hard for the whole month of December, fine-tuning my game a little bit and trying to get the confidence back. Last year was tough but I think we are heading the right direction. 

Can you tell us a bit about your practice situation right now?

I started working with both Mariano Puerta and Davide Sanguinetti at the end of last year. We did a full pre-season together. Starting off this year, we had some good matches. We all get along pretty well and moving in the right direction. 

You started the season in Australia but lost to Jakub Mensik twice: In the semis of the Canberra Challenger as well as in the qualifying of the Australian Open. 

Yes, that’s how tennis is sometimes. I played the same player twice in a row. He was playing very well over there. We had two good matches. I also played well but it was tough in the first round of the qualifying. I am happy for him that he did well. 

How difficult was it for you to adapt to the conditions here in Tenerife after having the long journey from Melbourne?

It was a really long flight. That’s something I have never done before, getting from Australia to Europe or the Canary Islands. It’s a long way but I am happy to be here. It’s beautiful weather and it’s very exciting.

Is it your first time in Tenerife?

Yes. First time. 

What are your impressions so far?

The weather is really nice during this time of the year. It’s great to play outside in mostly sunny and warm conditions. The view and the beaches here are really nice. I am happy to be here. 

Have you already had the time to find a favourite spot?

We already spent some time outside the hotel and had some nice dinners and walked out to the beach one day. It’s nice to get away from the court sometime. 

Do you usually do some sightseeing during a tournament week?

Yes, a little bit. It’s mentally tough on the court, so it’s good to take a break once in a while, refresh the mind. Whether it’s in the afternoon or evening and come prepared for the next match. 

Thank you and enjoy the rest of the tournament.

Interview: Florian Heer