Meet the 18-year-old who made the quarterfinals in his ATP debut. (Ryan Loco)

"One of my biggest strengths on the court is definitely my mental game and just being in every point, in every match, and not getting too down on myself or getting too excited."

This week, TENNIS.com Podcast listeners get to meet one of the newest and mentally toughest teens on tour, Brandon Nakashima.

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After just one semester at the University of Virginia, the 18-year-old turned pro. He would go on to win his second ITF Futures title in January and make his ATP debut as a wild card in Delray Beach. Making the most of opportunity, the San Diego native reached the quarterfinals. He impressed the world with his mental toughness and his all-court game style—which he likens to Novak Djokovic's.

While the shutdown stalled his climb up the rankings, the world No. 220 made the most of his spare time by training hard and tweaking his team (it now includes Pat Cash and Dusan Vemic). The teen is competing for the Chicago Smash this month in West Virginia while looking forward to the tour restarting.

"He’s a very good as a student,” Vemic says. “He listens, respects and implements it into his game very quickly. The future is bright. Our objective is for him to grow. There are qualities that I see that are maybe underrated—they’re not flashy—but those are qualities that you want to have as a top tennis player.”


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