‘Novak Djokovic’s mental toughness is a…’, says top footballer

American Brandon Nakashima, 19, says many people have told him his mental toughness and all-court play reminds them of World No.1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia. Nakashima has been awarded a wild card to the upcoming 2020 US Open singles main draw and before that, he will also enter the qualifying draw at the Western & Southern Open, which will also be played in New York next week. Speaking to the US Open website, the young American says: “When I was younger, I don’t think I compared myself to anyone, but as I’ve grown in the juniors and now as a professional, people have said that my mental strength and only my all-court game reminds them of Novak.” Although he has only just taken his first steps on the main tour, the San Deigo native says his goal remains to become World No. 1 in the future. “I just want to keep getting better and keep doing well and developing my game and doing well at Grand Slams. I want to be number one in the world one day.” Nakashima says that besides playing tennis, he likes the fact that playing on tour allows him to travel to different cities and experience different cultures. “I definitely like to travel a lot. So far it’s been great to go to the different cities and experience the different cultures. I think meeting all these different players has been great and given me a lot of life lessons.” The US Open kicks off in New York in late August and is the first Grand Slam on the circuit after tennis closed in March. The Western & Southern Open is scheduled to start on August 20. Brandon Nakashima is currently ranked No. 220 in the world and has a career-high ATP singles ranking of No. 218. In juniors, he reached a career-high No.3 and won the ITF Junior Masters in 2018.

Vlahovic pays tribute to Djokovic

If Novak Djokovic is a great reference for young players in his sport, his aura goes far beyond the framework of tennis. In a recent interview with Tuttosport, the Serbian Dusan Vlahovic, professional footballer and striker of the famous Juventus club in Turin in Italy, wanted to put things straight when the journalist placed him on the same line as the man with 21 Grand Slam titles. “I don’t consider myself a reference because there is still so much to do, Djokovic on the other hand is a reference for all of us. It’s a pleasure to be his compatriot: I hope he can win more trophies and achieve all his goals. I don’t know him directly, but we spoke a few times. He complimented me when I arrived at Juventus. His mental toughness is a model, the way he trains. If he came to visit us for a few exchanges, it would be a great pleasure.”