There’s coming back from injury and there’s Brian Baker coming back from injury. The star-crossed American been healthy for a while now (knock on wood) and he’s putting up some solid results in doubles. Baker won four doubles ATP Challengers in a row toward the end of 2016, and in 2017, won his first title on the main tour in Memphis with Nikola Mektic.
The pair teamed up again in Budapest and came away with the title, defeating Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the final.
All around, it was a great day for Baker, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Sunday. A title always makes for a perfect gift.
Baker's health struggles have been well documented. In a feature for TENNIS Magazine's Heroes issue last December, Lindsay Gibbs ran down the trials and tribulations of a player who's been down more often than not:
"Since turning pro in 2003, he has spent more than nine full seasons on the sidelines, having undergone a total of 10 operations on his hips, elbow, knees and back.
His first extended absence lasted from 2007 until 2011 and included five operations. However, through it all, Baker remained connected to tennis, both as a coach at Belmont University and as a recreational-league player.
In 2011, against all odds, he mounted a miraculous comeback. In a mere 18 months, he won four Challenger titles, reached an ATP final, made it to the fourth round of Wimbledon and got his ranking up to No. 52."
In spite of everything, Baker made sure to remind us that "My best is yet to come.” Judging by his doubles success, he just might be right.
(Additional reporting by Ed McGrogan)