Brian Baker has accepted a wild card into the BB&T Atlanta Open.
Sidelined from professional tennis for six years due to injury, Baker has made a stunning return to the ATP World Tour. The 27-year-old’s season has been highlighted so far by a Challenger title in Savannah, a final berth in Nice and an appearance in the fourth round of Wimbledon, professional tennis’ most celebrated slam.
The American had an exceptional junior career that seemingly promised the athlete a successful future on the professional tour. Ranked as high as No. 2 in the world, Baker won the Junior Orange Bowl and reached the boy’s final of the 2003 French Open. Additionally, he claimed victories over prominent players such as Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who have since gone on to reach the top ten and pinnacle of professional tennis.
Unfortunately after turning pro in 2003, Baker sustained injuries to his wrist, left hip, right hip, abdomen (sports hernia), medial collateral ligament (knee) and ulnar collateral ligament (elbow). Having endured five different surgeries and spending more time in doctors’ offices than on the tennis court, Baker decided to step away from the ATP tour.
The Nashville native returned home as the assistant coach for Belmont University’s men’s tennis team. As his body healed and he returned to practice, Baker decided to test his strength on the Challenger tour this year. Baker was incredibly successful and by virtue of winning the title in Savannah, Ga. he earned a wild card into the French Open. However, the American earned world wide attention when, as a qualifier, he defeated world No. 13 Gael Monfils and reached the final of the Open de Nice, a warm up for the clay grand slam.
Baker than stepped onto the clay courts in Paris, making his first Grand Slam appearance since the 2005 US Open, where he lost to Xavier Malisse in the second round. As luck would have it, Baker drew Malisse for his first match of the French Open. The rejuvenated American prevailed in straight sets.
On the heels of the clay court season, Baker received a wild card into the qualifying draw of Wimbledon where he continued to beat the odds. Taking advantage of the manicured courts of the All England Club, Baker raced through the early rounds and found himself in the second week of a grand slam. Though it ended painstakingly in the fourth round to Kohlschreiber, Baker has made an incredible impact on the tennis community.
Baker will test his unprecedented success on the hard courts of Atlanta this next week. Mounting one of the most inspirational comebacks in all of sports, Baker will be one to watch at Atlantic Station.