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How does a once-retired assistant coach from Tennessee make some of the best players in the world look silly?

“He sees the ball better than everybody else, for the most part,” Madrigal said. “The game happens a little bit more in slow-motion for him so he’s able to pick apart some of the things his opponents don’t do as well and recognize things fairly quickly.”

Baker offered a simpler answer.

“One thing leads to another and you’re playing really good tennis,” he said.

Baker arrived at Grandstand Court 1 on Sunday morning to get in a quick practice session before his opening match — a 6-4, 3-6, 4-6 loss — against Florent Serra on Monday. He was greeted outside the gate by a handful of fans, one wanting an autograph and another asking for a picture. Sweat still dripping from his forehead, Baker granted the requests. Then, racquet bag in tow, he strolled around Rock Creek Park mostly undisturbed.

He may not be a movie star quite yet, but the film is still rolling.