When Brandon Nakashima reached the back-to-back ATP Tour finals in Los Cabos and Atlanta last July, he became the latest in a string of promising young Americans to power into the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings.
Another box the #NextGenATP star ticked in 2021 was securing a first ATP Masters 1000 main-draw win, beating Federico Coria in the first round of the October’s BNP Paribas Open. As Nakashima returns to Indian Wells this week aiming to repeat the trick, ATPTour.com caught up with him to find out more about the off-court aspects of his life on the Tour.
What are a few essential non-tennis items you always pack for trips?
I usually always bring some headphones – I have the noise-canceling AirPods – and I always bring my iPad to watch movies. I also always try to bring some casual clothes in case I go out.
What item did you forget to bring one time that caused you distress?
I’ve never forgotten anything important so far … But it’s bound to happen.
Do you enjoy traveling or do you see it as a part of the job of being a professional tennis player?
I enjoy it a lot. I enjoy traveling to different countries and exploring different cities, different cultures. I think it’s a pretty cool part of being a professional tennis player.
What is your favorite tournament city to visit?
I really enjoyed Melbourne this year, it was my first time there. Paris is always super nice, too.
What did you get up to in Melbourne outside of the tennis center?
I walked around the city a little bit, walked along the river there, ate at some pretty good restaurants.
Where is your favorite vacation destination?
I don’t know, I haven’t really taken too many vacations before… I’d probably say Hawaii, I’ve been there once.
Brandon Nakashima “/>
Photo Credit: Abierto Los Cabos
What is your craziest travel story?
I’ve had a lot of travel situations in the past year. Probably one that stood out last year, with all the Covid restrictions and the rules… I was in Istanbul trying to get to Quimper in France [for an ATP Challenger Tour tournament]and I couldn’t get on the flight to Paris.
I had to get on a flight to Belgrade [instead]. My coach’s parents live there, and they drove us to the border with Croatia. We walked across the border and another friend picked us up on the other side. Then we flew from Zagreb to Paris, and then we had to take a four-hour train ride from Paris to Quimper.
It was probably a total of four or five hours in the car, [but] I ended up making the semis and then won the [second ATP Challenger Tour] tournament the next week.
As a tennis player, maintaining your body is of the utmost importance, so how do you take care of it during long trips?
During travel days, when I arrive at the destination, I try to go for a workout, try to sweat a little bit. Don’t try to sleep right away. Just stay hydrated, stay active.
How do you try to overcome jetlag and acclimate to the local time zone?
I’m usually pretty good with jetlag.
Are there any routines or activities you do to create a sense of ‘home on the road’ to feel more comfortable?
I usually don’t bring too much stuff from home, but I talk to my family every day when I’m away.
Are you someone who gets to the airport with lots of time to spare or do you cut it fine?
I’d probably like to get there early.