Qualifier Baker reaches 4th round at Wimbledon
“He’s finally healthy again and it’s a great story. He’s a really nice kid, really good kid, but guys come and go and it’s a tough sport,” Fish said.
Wimbledon is Baker’s first major grass-court tournament in seven years. He had to go through qualifying just to get into the main draw, before beating Rui Machado and Jarkko Nieminen in his first two matches.
Cheering his every point is his family. After seeing his son endure incredible pain that almost finished his tennis career almost before it started, Baker’s father Steve said the family was “treasuring every moment” at the All England Club.
“It’s such an unexpected gift. What we are most proud of is that Brian has gotten to be such a good player without playing for seven years,” Steve Baker said, adding that his son had kept in shape and worked on his game through all his injury battles.
“He kept his dream alive by doing his work,” Steve Baker said.
“It was really blustery out there,” Baker said. “Never felt like the wind was even in the same direction every game.”
When the American broke his opponent early in the third set to pull ahead 4-1, Paire slammed his racket against his bag, threw a water bottle around, and bit his towel in anger.
“He was a little over there. You could tell that some games it looked like he would take off a little bit, but then he would come up and slap a couple winners, too,” Baker said.
Baker will next play 27th-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, who beat Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (6) on Saturday. Rosol stunned Rafael Nadal in the previous round to make Baker’s side of the draw a bit easier, but the American still expects a tough challenge.
“I’m sure I’ll probably be the underdog again going into the match,” Baker said. “I’m kind of happy being the hunter going in there. I know I’ll have to play my best match to win because he’s a great player.”