Carmel Valley tennis pro Brandon Nakashima headlines TennisFest

Brandon Nakashima hit with young players at TennisFest.
(Jacky Cheong, TopCourt

Carmel’s Valley’s own Brandon Nakashima, currently ranked No. 76 in the ATP world rankings, headlined TennisFest at Balboa Tennis Club on May 15. Nearly 1,000 attendees showed up for one of the largest community play days in the country, presented by the San Diego District Tennis Association and co-sponsored by the Southern California Tennis Association Foundation.

Nakashima, 20, who had just returned home after competing in the Italian Open, hit with kids and provided a demonstration at the event.

TennisFest also served as a fundraiser for Nakashima’s good friend, Ivan Smith, a 20-year-old tennis star who was paralyzed from the waist down following a car crash last month. A standout tennis player at Hilltop High and Santana High, Smith regularly competed against Nakashima in junior competitions since they were 8 years old and the two developed a strong friendship over the years. Including donations received at TennisFest, more than $110,000 has been raised so far to offset medical expenses for Smith.

TennisFest is another example of Nakashima giving back to his community. In May 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nakashima donated dozens of pairs of tennis shoes for healthcare workers in San Diego to help them in caring for their patients.

Immediately after TennisFest, Nakashima flew back to Europe to compete in the French Open in Paris. He won his opening round match and won in straight sets on May 25 to advance to the third round.