Press release: American tennis player Brian Baker, who has recovered from numerous surgeries to reach the round of 16 at Wimbledon, has received a wild card to play in the BB&T Atlanta Open, Tournament Director Bob Bryant announced Monday.
The BB&T Atlanta Open will be held at Atlantic Station 14-22 July and is the first men’s event in the Emirates Airline US Open Series.
Local standout Donald Young has also agreed to play for the third straight year. Young has zoomed up the rankings from World No. 111 a year ago to a career high of No. 38 last February, defeating World No. 4 Andy Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka. He reached his first ATP World Tour final last year in Bangkok by defeating Gael Monfils.
Young and two other singles players who have already committed to play the BB&T Atlanta Open, Andy Roddick and John Isner, have been selected to represent the United States at the London Olympics. Defending champion Mardy Fish is also slated to return.
Baker, who was a finalist at Nice this year, has advanced through three rounds of qualifying at Wimbledon and has carved out three main draw victories. He is scheduled to face Philipp Kohlschreiber in the round of 16.
The 27-year-old Baker has captured the tennis world’s attention recently by mounting a remarkable comeback. Ranked as the No. 2 junior in the nation, the Nashville native won the Junior Orange Bowl, reached the boys’ final of Roland Garros, and claimed victories over multiple players including World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and others who have since reached the World’s Top 10.
After turning pro in 2003, Baker sustained injuries to his wrist, left hip, right hip, abdomen (sports hernia), medial collateral ligament (knee) and ulnar collateral ligament (elbow). He had “Tommy John” surgery, which is typically performed on baseball pitchers. After enduring five surgeries between 2003 and 2008 that forced the young athlete to spend more time in doctor’s offices than on court, Baker stepped away from the tour.
In 2008 Baker was named Belmont University’s men’s tennis assistant coach and decided to test his strength on the USTA Pro Circuit this year. Baker won the ATP Challenger tournament in Savannah, Ga., receiving the USTA’s wild card into Roland Garros. However, Baker earned additional attention when, as a qualifier, he defeated World No. 13 Monfils and reached the final of the Open de Nice.
“At this point, I’m taking nothing for granted,” Baker said. “Every chance I have on court I am taking advantage of the opportunity I have to play. I am hoping Atlanta will be a springboard for me into the hard court season.”
Bryant added, “I am thrilled to extend a wild card to Brian Baker. He has been a phenomenal sensation on the tennis tour so far this season. We are so proud to bring a life-long Southerner to the Atlanta tournament during his outstanding comeback year.”
Tickets and further info is available at www.bbtatlantaopen.com.