Nashville tennis pro Brian Baker on path to recovery - WSMV Channel 4

Nashville tennis pro Brian Baker on path to recovery

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Nashville native Brian Baker is once again making a comeback from major surgery as he sets his sights on the big stage for professional tennis.

Baker returned to Grand Slam action in 2012 after undergoing five operations, including hip surgery and reconstructive elbow surgery, after playing in the 2005 U.S. Open.

But in the second round of this year's Australian Open, Baker was facing fellow American Sam Querry when the Belmont Bruins' assistant coach felt agonizing pain in his knee once again.

"I knew that it wasn't good. I kind of felt my bones rub past each other and something pop, and then I knew that it was really bad when I couldn't straighten my leg out," Baker said.

It looked like a torn ACL, but Baker had torn the meniscus in his left knee. Surgery soon followed, and his comeback had come to a screeching halt.

"Sometimes you don't get to plan the timing of when you're going to be successful," Baker said.

Once ranked second in the world as a junior, Baker calls himself stubborn, and his return from past health problems saw him reach the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2012.

His world ranking went from the high 400s down to No. 52 before his latest setback.

"Tennis has been part of my life for a long time. That's what I've spent most of my time doing. It's what I enjoy the most - the only thing I've done career-wise to this point. So, yeah, I'm determined to see it out," Baker said.

And that is what has driven him back onto the court. Still a little tender in the knee, he is only 28 years old and sees a bright future for himself.

"I know that from what I did last year and even when I was younger, I have the talent to compete out there and be successful," he said.

Baker said he will likely be ready to compete again by midsummer, and while that means he may have to skip Wimbledon this year, he wants to feel fully recovered before taking his racquet bag on the road.

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