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Brian Baker back in action

May 31st, 2012
Zoë Sophos

Tennis racket and ball on hard courtAfter taking six years to recuperate from a string of debilitating injuries, 27-year-old Brian Baker is proving himself on the pro tour once again, according to

“I felt like I had some unfinished business,” Baker told ATP World Tour for USTA. “My body was the main factor why I took off. I started to feel a little bit better last summer, so I told myself to give it a go and see how far I can take it.”

As a junior, Baker defeated players such as Marcos Baghdatis, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Gael Monfils and was the top ranked American player in 2002. He made his career debut at the 2005 U.S. Open, ousting ninth-ranked Gaston Gaudio in the first round. Immediately after the open, however, his career was put on hold by what would ultimately be five surgeries on an elbow, a hernia and both hips.

“I’m not going to lie,” Baker told the ATP. “I was pretty disappointed when I had to sit out all that time. It was pretty tough to watch all the guys on TV having tons of success. I had to learn to deal with it. I tried to stay positive and hoped that one day I would be able to give it another go.”

It seems the positivity paid off. In early 2012, Baker was enrolled at Belmont University in Nashville, was the assistant coach for the tennis team and had an ATP ranking of 456. Within five months he had jumped to number 214 in the world.

The comeback picked up steam in April when the USTA awarded Baker a wildcard to the French Open after his performance in two American clay-court challengers. The Nashville native then qualified by making it to the finals of the Open de Nice on Friday. In his first Grand Slam appearance in seven years, Baker took out Belgium’s Xavier Malisse in straight sets and lost to the 11th seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon in the second round in a close five-setter, according to the French Open website. 

“For the rest of the season, I’m going to look to keep the wave of momentum going,” Baker told USTA. “I don’t have an exact ranking I’m looking to get to, but it would be great to crack the top 150, even top 100, if I keep playing well.”