After turning heads on the ATP Challenger circuit this fall, rising American star Brandon Nakashima has decided to forgo his remaining three years of NCAA eligibility and turn pro.
Ranked No. 942 in the world just this September, the University of Virginia standout jumped to No. 370 in just seven tournaments, defeating seasoned pros Taro Daniel, James Duckworth, Michael Mmoh, Chris Eubanks and Thai Kwiatkowski along the way.
Baseline caught up with Nakashima at the Fairfield, Calif. ATP Challenger in October.
“Definitely these results have helped me gain a lot of confidence in my game and it shows that I can play with these top guys,” Nakashima told Baseline this week. "It was a tough decision but this is what's best for me and I'm happy to start my professional career, I'm looking forward to competing against top guys and hopefully continuing to improve my game."
The 18-year-old was ranked as high as No. 3 on the junior tour last year. In his freshman year at Vanderbilt, he put together a 17-5 overall record and was named the ACC Freshman of the Year. He idolized Roger Federer growing up, but his game is much more similar to another living legend.
“My game is probably more similar to Djokovic, super solid from the baseline and I try not to give too many errors,” Nakashima said.
The decision is always a difficult one, but after racking up a 17-7 record this fall, it’s tough to argue against it.
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