Brian Baker’s first appearance at the Australian Open produced an all-too-familiar result.
The Nashville native was forced to retire from his second-round match against fellow American Sam Querrey on Wednesday with an injury to his right knee. Baker led 7-6, 1-1 when he was suddenly forced to end the match.
He stumbled after a backhand shot and was unable to put weight on his leg. He received treatment from a doctor and said he heard a pop.
“He’s the last person that deserves anything like that, with his five or six surgeries already,” Querrey said, according to numerous reports. “He does everything right, treats his body great, just trying to come back, and then something like that happens, it’s just so unlucky.”
The 27-year-old entered the year’s first Grand Slam event ranked 57th in the world, a significant improvement from the end of 2011 when he was 456th.
Following seven years of injuries and major surgeries, including procedures on his hip nd elbow, he made an unlikely return to the professional circuit last year. He earned his way into the field at the French Open, where he won one match, and then made international headlines when he reached the fourth round at Wimbledon.
His first Australian Open match was a victory Monday over Russia’s Alex Bogomolov Jr.
"In my mind he's a top 50 player and he can beat guys who are top 20, top 10," Querrey said. "I think if he can heal quickly or if it takes a year, I think he can get right back where he is right now. He's talented, he's good enough."