04:59 AM GMT February 20, 2020
Prior to this week, Pat Cash had only observed Brandon Nakashima’s game through videos. The former Wimbledon champion is now getting an up-close look at the #NextGenATP American in their first week working together at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com.
Nakashima admitted that he hadn't watched footage of Cash’s Wimbledon triumph, but knew of his on-court accomplishments and what he could offer as a coach. The pair have quickly hit it off as the 18-year-old has powered into the quarter-finals in his ATP Tour debut.
“It’s nice to work with a kid who’s very keen, focussed and has a lot of talent,” Cash said. “I’m just getting to know him, but I’ve been very impressed with his mentality. He’s very good under pressure, wins a lot of tie-breaks. He was just looking forward to the match [on Monday] and knew there was a possibility he could get the win.”
Cash and Nakashima were originally scheduled to spend this week training in California before heading to an ATP Challenger Tour event next week in Calgary. But after the San Diego native received a wild card into Delray Beach, Cash adjusted his travel arrangements.
The Aussie nearly didn’t make it after discovering en route to the airport in Brisbane that he had lost his passport. He managed to get a new passport photo at the last moment and arrived in Florida at 5:30am on Monday, less than eight hours before Nakashima took the court for his first-round match.
Although some players prefer not to tinker with their game during a tournament, Cash is trying to implement parts of their planned training week in Delray Beach. The former No. 4 in the FedEx ATP Rankings believes that developing one’s game shouldn’t be limited to practice sessions at home and is essential for Nakashima to continue progressing this week.
“My job is to come here with a game plan and to improve his game,” Cash said. “We thought we were going to be training this week and play a tournament next week, but now we’re cramming in two tournaments. You’ve got to learn how to improve stuff when you’re on the road. He’s a good professional already. I’m very impressed.”
Nakashima has been travelling this season with coach Beau Treyz. Although Cash hasn’t finalised his plans with the rising American beyond the next two weeks, he’s open to travelling more with him throughout the year. He’s impressed with what Nakashima currently brings to the table, but is even more excited about unlocking his full potential.
“He’s got a lot of developing to do. He’s got good technique and is very solid on the baseline. Now he needs to develop a big shot, a bit more power, and keep getting fitting and stronger,” Cash said. “There are a lot of good players out there who play like him, so now he needs finds to something a bit special. That’s what we’ll be working on.”