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View Full Version : Brian Baker won again in Nice


Gonzalito17
05-22-2012, 10:32 AM
The comeback story of all comeback stories continues, as Brian Baker, out of tennis for six years because of injuries and surgeries, won three qualifying matches and then first round in main draw vs. Sergi Stakhovskiy 7-5 in the third set. He's #216 now and going up and up. Has a French Open WC. Plays Monfils next, he beat La Monf in juniors. Amazing story. If Baker can keep this going, he just might become one of the greatest comeback stories in SPORTS history, not just tennis history.

SStrikerR
05-22-2012, 10:48 AM
What do you mean biggest comeback in sports history? Don't get ahead of yourself. I don't know what happened to him, but he wasn't highly ranked before was he? He's not like Blake, who was at a high level, almost died, and then returned to the elite a few years later. And that's not even a widely known comeback in the sports world.

jdubbs
05-22-2012, 11:29 AM
Considering Nice is the most coveted trophy in all of sports, that would qualify him for sportsman of the year award and automatic entry into all slams going forward.

tacou
05-22-2012, 03:10 PM
nice story but a bit of an exaggeration, as previous poster said the comeback isn't even on par with Blake's let alone all other sports

JuliusWinto
05-22-2012, 07:06 PM
Yeah, this is an exaggeration, but it is a really cool story. I know a guy from Belmont's team that had Baker as his assistant coach. I will definitely be following his results and pulling for him. Not a lot of athletes get a second chance after taking 6 years off because of Tommy John and 2 hip surgeries.

JuliusWinto
05-22-2012, 07:18 PM
Forgot to mention why I think what he is doing is so amazing. A year or two ago, he was playing in a local non usta league, and bageling the number one from our team.

Shaolin
05-22-2012, 07:36 PM
Amazing story and not an exaggeration by the OP imo. To come back after so long and be winning tournaments is astounding.

BlueClayIsRealClay
05-22-2012, 07:58 PM
Good podcast interview with Baker on his comeback on SI.

glazkovss
05-23-2012, 08:10 AM
I would consider Zanardi coming back to racing after having lost both legs in a car crash a bigger comeback. Also Lance Armstrong winning tour de France six times after successfully fighting cancer.
Still happy for Brian, good luck to him!

jdubbs
05-23-2012, 10:58 AM
He's up 2-0 in the first against Monfils right now

The Bawss
05-23-2012, 11:28 AM
I would consider Zanardi coming back to racing after having lost both legs in a car crash a bigger comeback. Also Lance Armstrong winning tour de France six times after successfully fighting cancer.
Still happy for Brian, good luck to him!

It would have been more impressive without the doping.

jdubbs
05-23-2012, 12:09 PM
Up 6-3, 6-6 on Mofils right now. Go Brian!

thienzsch
05-23-2012, 12:11 PM
Baker won 7-6(9)

Bud
05-23-2012, 12:12 PM
He's got a nice ROS. Pretty much hit a winner off nearly every second serve and was putting the first serves back deep consistently.

Into the Nice QF

Right now his live ranking is 179 with a win tomorrow he'll be 160 (will pass his former career high of #172 achieved in 2004)

Baker vs Kukushikin in the QF, tomorrow.

bluetrain4
05-23-2012, 12:52 PM
He's got a nice ROS. Pretty much hit a winner off nearly every second serve and was putting the first serves back deep consistently.

Into the Nice QF

Right now his live ranking is 179 with a win tomorrow he'll be 160 (will pass his former career high of #172 achieved in 2004)

Baker vs Kukushikin in the QF, tomorrow.

Kukushkin is a winnable match, correct?

ChipNCharge
05-23-2012, 01:00 PM
It would have been more impressive without the doping.

Zanardi's a doper??

Bud
05-23-2012, 01:03 PM
Kukushkin is a winnable match, correct?

We'll find out tomorrow :)

MurrayMyInspiration
05-23-2012, 01:30 PM
We'll find out tomorrow :)

Tomic should have destoryed Kukushkin easily....He was dominating him and started acting like a tool and blowing his lead and chances ......

jdubbs
05-23-2012, 01:32 PM
Congrats Brian! I didn't even know who you were before this thread existed lol

Bud
05-23-2012, 01:42 PM
Incredible amount of talent to go from about 800 in the world 10 months ago to nearly top 150 today.

jdubbs
05-23-2012, 02:26 PM
Former American teen phenom Brian Baker continued his amazing comeback story on Wednesday by defeating No. 13 Gael Monfils, 6-3, 7-6 (9) at the Open de Nice.

It was the 27-year-old's first match against a player ranked in the top 50 since he beat reigning French Open champion Gaston Gaudio at the 2005 U.S. Open. In between, Baker underwent five surgeries that sidelined him for four years. Left hip, right hip, sports hernia, left hip (again), Tommy John surgery. The injuries knocked him out before he ever had a chance to get in.

He went back to school, healed from his ailments and returned to professional tennis in 2011. Baker had played in a French Open boys final against Stainslas Wawrinka. He defeated Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in junior events. He played in three U.S. Opens. Now he was in a futures event in Florida, earning 18 rankings points off five wins against players ranked in mid-1000s.

Last month, Baker won eight matches in Savannah to earn an American qualifying spot in the French Open. He traveled to Nice last week and won three qualifying matches to earn a spot in the main draw. The victory over Monfils was his second of the tournament. It is Baker's first tournament off North American soil in six years.

Baker is No. 216 in the ATP rankings and rising. He should move past his career high of No. 176 after this week.

"I'm confident," Baker told the Wall Street Journal recently. "But being out for so long, I know how quickly it can be taken away from you. I'm going to do everything in my power that this time, it's for a long time."

jdubbs
05-23-2012, 02:27 PM
^^^ Wow 8 wins in one tourney to qualify for the French. Big wins. Kudos, good to see an American out there doing well.

rainingaces
05-23-2012, 02:41 PM
Bryan can play amazing on clay but in his post match interview he said that he was happy he had beaten monfils and on clay too! Like its not his surface and he is still smashing clay courters left and right, on the other hand he might have refered to monf being a good dirt player, but I doubt that.

Just think what he will do on grass with his s and v or on american hardcourts.

Lsmkenpo
05-23-2012, 02:43 PM
What do you mean biggest comeback in sports history? Don't get ahead of yourself. I don't know what happened to him, but he wasn't highly ranked before was he? He's not like Blake, who was at a high level, almost died, and then returned to the elite a few years later. And that's not even a widely known comeback in the sports world.

He was one of the best junior players in the world before he was injured numerous times, he made the French Open finals and routinely beat Murray, Djokovic and Tsonga as a junior. He was considered a bigger talent than Blake.

r2473
05-23-2012, 02:48 PM
Who says "Nice" guys finish last?

forthegame
05-23-2012, 03:00 PM
Nice story. Second time I'm reading about him on TW.

Does anyone have a youtube vid of his match against Monfils?

Actually, any youtube vids of him at all?

Thanks.

jdubbs
05-23-2012, 03:00 PM
Anybody have an video of him? What's his game like?

Lsmkenpo
05-23-2012, 03:08 PM
Anybody have an video of him? What's his game like?

Similar game to Djokovic, really solid backhand, but not quite as quick.

Moose Malloy
05-23-2012, 03:31 PM
here's what posters here thought of him in '06

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=90867&highlight=brian+baker

I remember the Gaudio USO match, must be one of the bigger upsets in terms of ranking differential

stormholloway
05-23-2012, 07:37 PM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303610504577416491590179670.html

heftylefty
05-23-2012, 08:04 PM
Thanks for the link Storm!

Gonzalito17
05-24-2012, 06:35 AM
Baker plays kind of like a stiffer Djokovic, not quite as agile or fluid. Very similar body types. Solid backhand, good forehand. pretty quick but not cat quick. Very poised and professional, he has a champion's demeanor, very focused. Also very classy and humble on court and off.

Tcbtennis
05-24-2012, 07:33 AM
This is a great story and I wish him the best. Looking at the Nice schedule, I see that he got the night match on center court so his recent triumphs are resonating with the locals as well. Being older and more mature player than the other up and comers and with his history, you know that he is truly savoring and fighting hard out there. If he can manage to win a few rounds at Roland Garros, I know that ESPN or Tennis Channel are salivating to produce a tug at your heart strings, feel good segment on him.

jdubbs
05-24-2012, 07:42 AM
Read on Twitter that fans came up after the match asking for his wristbands, and he said no...they were the only ones he had.

jdubbs
05-24-2012, 10:56 AM
Split the first set with Kukushkin. Lets go Brian

bluetrain4
05-24-2012, 11:01 AM
Never seen him play. How does he play?

rufus_smith
05-24-2012, 11:26 AM
wow he's got a great 2hb dtl. Close match in 3rd set.
He is an aggressive power baseliner I think.

Hurrah, he beat Kukushkin in 3rd set tiebreak, tough match.

Tcbtennis
05-24-2012, 12:04 PM
To the semis in an ATP 250! An American who can win on clay, who would have thought :). Davydenko is up next for him, win or lose what a great experience for him.

Gonzalito17
05-24-2012, 01:19 PM
It's getting almost surreal now.

MomentumGT
05-24-2012, 01:34 PM
Great job on the comeback! I remember watching him years ago in the USO and was pretty impressed. :)

-Jon

The Bawss
05-24-2012, 01:36 PM
He's no Donald Young, that's for sure.

Moose Malloy
05-24-2012, 01:42 PM
^a lot of posters here ragged on him for not going to college. he struggled when he 1st turned pro.

here's a post from 2006

He's a guys who wouldve done well to go to college. I totally agree with arosen. Saw him at Kalamazoo, and he looked great. Saw him against Malissa and Moya at USO and thought he's got no shot. He looked slow against both of them. Their serves overwhelmed him on big points.
His game's just not big enough, for a guy with his lack of quickness.

Soulie
05-24-2012, 01:43 PM
Baker plays kind of like a stiffer Djokovic, not quite as agile or fluid. Very similar body types. Solid backhand, good forehand. pretty quick but not cat quick. Very poised and professional, he has a champion's demeanor, very focused. Also very classy and humble on court and off.

Great for American tennis if that's true! Someone needs to start making up for all these years of Rod-dick on the tour.

Moose Malloy
05-24-2012, 01:51 PM
from his interview at the '05 USO

Q. What's your dream result in tennis? What's the one thing you'd most like to achieve?

BRIAN BAKER: Ever since I was a little kid you always dream about being Top 10 in the world and winning a Grand Slam. I know that's a long way away right now, but hopefully with a lot of hard work, getting a little bit better, maybe I can accomplish those things down the road.

Q. Injuries aside, did you expect to go up the rankings faster than you have after you reached the Roland Garros final?

BRIAN BAKER: I'd say a little bit yes and no. I mean, last year I had a good year. I mean, I finished 170 first year on tour. I mean, I thought I could have done a little bit better. I didn't have the best fall. But this year obviously I had high expectations. And with the injuries, it's been really tough. I slipped back, I think even outside the Top 200. But this year actually I've done better per tournament I've played, I just haven't been able to get out there as much. I'm hoping to have a really strong fall and get back in like the Top 120, see how well I can do.

Q. When you won the Orange Bowl, did you come away from that thinking it might be a little easier than it has been in the last couple years?

BRIAN BAKER: Not really. I mean, I mean, if you look at past champions, it sure looks that way. But, I mean, junior tennis and pro tennis are totally different things. I think most of the kids nowadays -- when I was playing, the junior tennis was still strong. It seems nowadays most of them are skipping that and going more to the futures and satellites. Yeah, I expected that I'd do well, but I knew it would be an uphill climb the first little bit just because you're going to take a lot more losing coming to the pro circuit because it's so much deeper and there's so many good players.

norbac
05-24-2012, 02:14 PM
He did it again! Great to have stories like this any week, but especially in a 250 week like this one.

penpal
05-25-2012, 06:20 AM
I only stumbled upon this story yesterday (http://courtcoverage.com/a-newold-american-tennis-star/), and what an amazing story it is!

I haven't been able to find any site that's showing live video of the matches in Nice, but it looks like this might be a live scoreboard (http://www.protennislive.com/framesetperp.asp?lang=en&ref=www.atpworldtour.com).

rufus_smith
05-25-2012, 07:40 AM
Definitely worth watching. Baker match is available any minute now on live stream if you can stand the ads. lshunter.tv is one spot

penpal
05-25-2012, 08:02 AM
Definitely worth watching. Baker match is available any minute now on live stream if you can stand the ads. lshunter.tv is one spot

Thanks rufus, didn't know about that site. Working great.

penpal
05-25-2012, 08:35 AM
Baker was down 2-5 and two breaks to Davydenko in the first set - he broke twice and is back on serve at 5-5!!!

The Bawss
05-25-2012, 10:48 AM
Well. I'll be damned. Baker is a boss!

nethawkwenatchee
05-25-2012, 11:10 AM
Very nice win over Davydenko (6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2). Its good to see them both playing well. I'd love to see them both win a few rounds at the French. If Baker beats Almagro... who knows whats possible!

Lefty78
05-25-2012, 11:17 AM
The streak continues... 15 matches and counting!

Good luck to Brian tomorrow against Almagro, and also against Malisse at RG. I really hope he can build on this recent success.

jdubbs
05-25-2012, 11:47 AM
Allez Brian! Good luck tomorrow.

Ocean Drive
05-25-2012, 12:02 PM
Very nice win over Davydenko (6-7(5), 6-4, 6-2). Its good to see them both playing well. I'd love to see them both win a few rounds at the French. If Baker beats Almagro... who knows whats possible!

I've only seen a handful of matches from Baker, so it's safe to see he's playing well but as for Davydenko, not too sure about that. He looks like a shadow of his former self. He's never been able to recover from that wrist break. A big loss for tennis.

Some people have suggested Baker should've tanked this SF, which is ridiculous, for obvious reasons, I'm sure winning an ATP event, no less this soon in his ATP comeback, means more to him than winning 1 or 2 matches in Paris.

As opposed to others, I'm not writing him off for tomorrow. I find that quite disrespectful to finish every post by saying "well, it's been a great week anyway, even if he is likely thumped by Almagro tomorrow"...

People have said that for 2 or 3 matches now and look where he is. Almagro was always going to be tough, tired or not.

He'll give it all he has, that's for sure. What a story that would be.

nethawkwenatchee
05-25-2012, 04:57 PM
I've only seen a handful of matches from Baker, so it's safe to see he's playing well but as for Davydenko, not too sure about that. He looks like a shadow of his former self. He's never been able to recover from that wrist break. A big loss for tennis.

Some people have suggested Baker should've tanked this SF, which is ridiculous, for obvious reasons, I'm sure winning an ATP event, no less this soon in his ATP comeback, means more to him than winning 1 or 2 matches in Paris.

As opposed to others, I'm not writing him off for tomorrow. I find that quite disrespectful to finish every post by saying "well, it's been a great week anyway, even if he is likely thumped by Almagro tomorrow"...

People have said that for 2 or 3 matches now and look where he is. Almagro was always going to be tough, tired or not.

He'll give it all he has, that's for sure. What a story that would be.

You make several valid points here. For me Davydenko is certainly not at his pre-wrist injury form for sure. He did however beat Isner in straight sets though and made an ATP SF so I have to say he's playing fairly well.

I also agree that Almagro is a notch higher an apponent (especially on clay) than Baker has seen at this point in his come back. However, the guys he's beaten are credible top players and he's had to fight hard, which is a huge credit and inspiration for a guy who's had very little experience at this level and is 27 years old. It would be disrespectful to say that Almagro is going to crush him... although it is a very real possibility.

I would love to see Baker get it done... would be a life changing event!

Ocean Drive
05-25-2012, 05:21 PM
Isner has been poor on clay throughout the season barring his match against Federer, which was played in very different conditions compared to the European clay court swing and Houston is barely worth mentioning. If Davydenko had been playing well by his standards, he'd have sweeped this tournament likely without losing a set.

Monfils is injured and really should not have even thought about stepping foot on court, but that's Monfils for you.

Almagro is a massive test, he's a guy who's made these 250 clay court events his homecoming, so it's pretty redundant to even mention that Baker is heavy underdog, everyone knows he is, so it's just pointless to congratulate him on his run but then go on to say something along the lines of "too bad he will probably be crushed tomorrow"...

I hope Baker gets a good start tomorrow, going a set down against Almagro would be very different from going a set down against Davydenko, who, for the first time in memory, I've seen looking burnt out at the tail end of a 3 setter.

TheCheese
05-25-2012, 05:51 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--dyT4_77SQ

Video of him vs Davydenko

CourtlyLove
05-25-2012, 05:54 PM
Safe to say Baker will be getting wild cards during the US Open Series...

Bud
05-25-2012, 06:55 PM
If Baker wins Nice and Roland Garros he'll be just outside the top ten! :-D

jakemcclain32
05-25-2012, 07:26 PM
If Baker wins Nice and Roland Garros he'll be just outside the top ten! :-D

It won't happen, but do you realize that if this miracle came to fruition, it'd be the best grand I ever lost?

BreakPoint
05-25-2012, 09:40 PM
If Baker wins Nice and Roland Garros he'll be just outside the top ten! :-D
If Brian Baker triple bagels Nadal and wins RG, it'll not only be the sports story of the century, it'll be the sports story of ALL TIME for all eternity. :)

Baker-sanity here we come! :)

woodrow1029
05-25-2012, 09:49 PM
Safe to say Baker will be getting wild cards during the US Open Series...
If he goes a couple rounds at the French, he may not need too many wildcards.

bjk
05-26-2012, 02:29 AM
He's playing Malisse in the 1st round and either simon or harrison in the second round.

Ocean Drive
05-26-2012, 04:54 AM
He's just toughed out a long third game against Almagro, leading 2-1 on serve. He does not want to be getting into long games early on, especially on his serve. He will have to hold serve far more than he did against Davydenko because Almagro will be tough to break, especially if he's having a 60%+ serving day.

Ocean Drive
05-26-2012, 04:59 AM
Excellent serving from Baker so far. 4 aces I think and a 2 or 3 unreturnables.

axel89
05-26-2012, 05:01 AM
baker up 3-2 early moments in the first set

Ocean Drive
05-26-2012, 05:11 AM
Looking like the first set is gone.

Baker's return of serve today has been abysmal in comparison to his earlier performances, especially off the backhand side.

jakemcclain32
05-26-2012, 05:25 AM
Baker still fighting as always.

His drop shots and net game this week are giving opponents fits.

Ocean Drive
05-26-2012, 05:30 AM
They're not really giving Almagro fits, he's been moving very well today and anticipating everything.

He needs something to give him a lift here, he needs to hold serve and to break as soon as possible, he's beginning to look impatient and desperate.

jakemcclain32
05-26-2012, 05:33 AM
Almagro's a different breed than anyone's Baker's been facing. His serve is a lot better, and his strokes are just cleaner.

Ocean Drive
05-26-2012, 05:55 AM
Didn't take the chances when they arose today. Almagro was never going to have those lapses he's been gifted with this week.

His defence throughout the week hasn't looked great, but today he did look very sluggish, the power of Almagro too much for the tired Baker.

An excellent streak of, what is it, 15 wins on the trot? Not bad at all considering all he has been through. Onwards and upwards, as long as he stays healthy.

jakemcclain32
05-26-2012, 05:57 AM
Congrats to Baker. It was going to take a near perfect effort to beat Nico today, but what a nice run.

Now go take a match or two at RG and keep building Brian!

jdubbs
05-26-2012, 06:03 AM
The way hes playing he wont have to play all those qualies just to make the main draw. Was tired today, but very proud of his effort and hope he makes a splash at the French and beyond.