If tennis were agame of Operation, Brian Baker might be the GOAT.

In late April 2017, Baker marked his 32nd birthday with an ATP doubles title in Budapest, seized alongside Nikola Mektic. Nine months later, the indefatigable comeback player's outlook for the 2018 season might be to return to the tour around that same time after his latest injury setback.


Baker shared via Instagram that he herniated a disc in his back just before the 2017 US Open. Despite seeking to treat that ailment "conservatively," it did not improve to the point that he could avoid a procedure. To the microdiscectomy table he went, saying since revealing the health matter that "The prognosis is very good and I'm already itching to get back out there." (And somewhere Andy Murray surely nods vigorously.)

Baker had been on tap to play doubles in 2018 with Rajeev Ram, who amicably parted ways with Raven Klaasen at the end of 2017. Any such partnership opportunities have obviously been put on hold as Baker recuperates from his most recent operation.

The player who many friends, including fellow pro Rhyne Williams, refer to as "Bakes" received some public recovery encouragement on Instagram from the likes of Josh Isner ("Get better") and retired pro-turned-commentator  Justin Gimelstob ("Hang in there. Your resilience is legendary!").

After Baker's multiple surgeries and outages from ATP play in the past decade, Gimelstob's words ring true. The tour will welcome the former world No. 52 back in due time. In short, Baker knows best.

Follow Jon on Twitter @jonscott9.