American tennis player Brian Baker's miraculous comeback
(CBS News) Ten years ago, Brian Baker was the top-ranked U.S. Junior Tennis player and the #2 Junior player in the world. The tennis world had high hopes for Baker when he turned pro and beat a young Novak Djokovic in 2005, followed up by a stunning upset at the U.S. Open, where he beat the 9th ranker player in the world at only 20-years-old.
Making his way back from nearly six solid years of battling injuries, Baker stunned tennis fans again as he returned to the game as an unseeded player this year and made it through 16 rounds at Wimbledon, dropping only one set. Today, he is ranked 70th in the world and this week -- for the first time in seven years -- Brian Baker will return to New York to play in the U.S. Open.
In a report that aired Monday on "CBS This Morning," Baker recalled his "downward spiral" of injuries not long after his victory at the Open in 2005. He was told he need hip surgery, and soon after underwent five major surgeries -- three on his hip, a sports hernia, and an elbow reconstruction.
Many in the American tennis community feared their next phenom was out of the game for good. He was sideliend for six years.
Baker told with "CBS This Morning" special correspondent, Jeff Glor, that he "never got to that point," of wanting to quit because "I put so much effort and so much time into tennis...I felt like I had something to prove."
While he was recuperating and rehabbing from his extensive surgeries, Baker coached tennis at Belmont University in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee and last fall, he started competing again. In April, he competed and won the Savannah Challenger before making his stunning comeback at Wimbledon.
"I think I'd be lying if I said I wasn't surprised a little bit," Baker told Jeff Glor. "To play my first ever main draw Wimbledon, that was amazing."
Now, at 27-years-old, Baker has high hopes for the U.S. Open.
"I've always been confident in my abilities that when I play well I can win a lot of matches in a row," he said before adding, "It's really awesome just to be able to play again."
Jim Courier, formerly ranked first in the world, joined "CTM" co-host Gayle King to touch on Baker's comeback and chances at the Open. "We're all shocked...he was a great hope for us many many years ago," Courier told King, "We just hadn't seen him...it's borderline miraculous that he's back playing."
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