Brandon Nakashima reflects on consistent season after Next Gen finals win

Brandon Nakashima in action Credit: Alamy
Brandon Nakashima in action Credit: Alamy

Brandon Nakashima capped a fine year with a big win at the Next Gen Tour finals.

In a season where some young players have intermittently dazzled, Nakashima has made slow and steady progress.

The 21-year-old American bested Jiri Lehecka in the Milan final on Saturday to round off a year that also saw him win his maiden tour-level title in San Diego.

“I think it has been a great season for me,” Nakashima said following his straight-sets win.

“I’ve definitely learned a lot every match and every tournament.

“At the beginning of the year, I had some goals. [One was] to win my first ATP title and to be able to do that in San Diego was super special.

“Then to finish off the year here winning the title at Next Gen is super special.

“I think the whole year for me has been very consistent.

“I have such great memories both on and off the court and I’m super thankful for everyone that has been a part of it.”

The tournament has been used to trial rule innovations and Nakashima feels that it is an excellent foil for young players.

“I think this tournament is great,” Nakashima said.

“Especially the ATP organising it and the Italian Tennis Federation.

“I think it’s great that all the young and upcoming players come together in a nice fun format.

“I think it really exposes the younger generation as well with the media. I think this tournament is a great stepping stone. [To be] mixed will all the past champions is a great achievement. I’m just going to keep working hard and I am looking forward to next year.”

Nakashima was quick to thank his coaching team, who have worked hard alongside him to make 2022 a succesful year.

“I think I have a great team with me here,” Nakashima said. “Eduardo [Infantino] has been great this past year. He’s kind of brought us all together with Franco [Davin] and also with the fitness and physio. I’m super thankful for all of them. They work so hard for me and just to be able to share this moment with all of them, the last tournament of the year.”

Nakashima is the fifth champion at the 21-and-under event, joining Hyeon Chung, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz and is the first American to lift the trophy.

As a result of his five-match streak in Milan, Nakashima is set to end the year inside the top 50.

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