Latest 9 Jan 2013

Can the fairytale continue for Baker?

Can the fairytale continue for Baker?

Parton’s chart-topping 1977 single Here you come again aptly describes the way Baker has kicked off his season after a remarkable return last year from a horrendous run of injuries.

On Monday night the 27-year-old came from behind to upset Heineken Open fifth seed Jerzy Janowicz. Today he has a good chance of continuing his miraculous comeback as he takes on qualifier Jesse Levine in the second round.

Baker showed on Monday in his first appearance in Auckland that he sure is a fighter.

“I was really happy because I’d squandered seven match points before I finally won.”

Dealing with Janowicz’s killer serve and gale force winds on Monday - the toughest conditions Baker had experienced for an ATP match - were nothing compared to what the world no. 61 has had to struggle with to make it back to the top.

After being no. 2 in the world as a junior and reaching the final of the junior French Open, Baker had six years out with injury.

“I ended up having two left hip surgeries, a right hip surgery, a sports hernia surgery and surgery on my right elbow.”

His inspirational return last year saw him make his first ATP final, jump 75 ranking points and reach the Wimbledon fourth round.

Maybe his good luck charm is his traditional pre-tournament routine of shaving off his beard.

“My mother likes to give me a lot of trouble if I don’t shave. So part of it is I normally shave before a tournament and part of it is just to get my Mum off my back.”

Another way to keep his Mum off his back will be to continue today with his Here you come again style comeback to top tennis.