Brian Baker is set to return to training in preparation for his on-court return in January at the Australian Open. Baker has been sidelined since August 2013 with a knee injury.
Doctors Clear Baker For Return
In a recent interview on the ATP website, American Brian Baker has confirmed that he is clear to return to the court. Baker told the ATP that his doctor in Vail, Colorado has said he can train the way he wants to train as he continues to recover from right knee surgery. The American confirmed that he had what amounted to a sort of micro fracture surgery on the knee on December 31, 2014. Baker detailed the procedure, saying "I had it New Year’s Eve last year, a procedure called DeNovo NT, where they basically take juvenile stem cells and glue them on to your defect. It’s kind of the same thing as microfracture. It’s just been a really long recovery."
Out Since 2013 U.S. Open
Following a resurgent 2012 that saw his best Grand Slam finish at Wimbledon with a fourth round showing, 2013 looked as if it finally held a bright future for Brian Baker. That quickly dimmed at the Australian Open in the second round when Baker tore the meniscus in his right knee in a second round loss to Sam Querrey. After undergoing surgery, Baker worked his way back onto the ATP World Tour by late in the season. He would play at the U.S. Open, but fell to Lleyton Hewitt in four sets. Baker would decide after that match to vow to get 100 percent healthy before he played another set.
Low Expectations For 2016
Baker said that he will not put any lofty goals on the table for his return next season. He chose to use his protected ranking to gain automatic entry into the main draw of the Australian Open in January. The American says his biggest challenge in his training for 2016 will be gaining match fitness and gaining a competitive edge, saying "It’s just going to be getting back to match tough, making sure I’m able to be smart about my schedule, my training and everything else."
The Australian Open begins on January 18, 2016. Baker will be playing the tournament for just the second time. The last coming in 2013 with the all-to-familiar ending of Baker injuring himself. Baker will hope this can be a chance to exercise some personal demons as he sets to return to tour-life at the age of 30.