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August 13, 2012

Brian Baker


B. BAKER/P. Kohlschreiber
7‑6, 7‑6

THE MODERATOR:テつ Brian posted his second top 20 win of the season, and he'll take on Bernard Tomic in round two.

Q.テつ You've been in a little slump in the summer after a successful spring.テつ Are you expecting road bumps like that along the way for the first year or so?テつ Did it not get you down that much?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ I mean, I don't know if you want to expect it, but I knew that it wasn't all going to just be easy like it kind of was this summer at times.
Just I haven't played this many matches or this many tournaments in seven years.テつ Even though the body felt good, maybe travel‑ I'm making excuses‑ but maybe the travel and some other things had something to do with that.
Just never felt like I got my hard court game in check.テつ Not that I was playing terrible, just never came through in the big times when I needed to.テつ I think I lost three or three of four three‑setters the last couple weeks where I won the first set.
Today was huge to be able to close out the match in the second set.

Q.テつ Talk about what it means to have such a big following since returning to the ATP World Tour.
BRIAN BAKER:テつ Nah, it's been great.テつ Fans everywhere have been super supportive, and I think that can only help.テつ Maybe it puts a little bit more pressure on me knowing that people are expecting me to do well and know my story.
It's basically all positive.テつ It's been great.テつ Every time I've been playing bigger court and having the fans behind me, you can definitely use that for momentum at times.テつ I was able to do that today.

Q.テつ Nice revenge from Wimbledon.テつ Talk about that a little bit.
BRIAN BAKER:テつ Yeah, no, it was one of those matches where at Wimbledon I played a poor first set.テつ After that I felt the match was pretty even.テつ He just capitalized on the break points and I didn't.
Today it was the opposite where I won the big points.テつ I don't think there was that much difference in the match, it was just in the breakers I won a few key points here and there and that was the match.

Q.テつ What's it been like for you being back in the States after the great spring in Europe?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ It's been fun.テつ You know, I took a week off after Wimbledon and was able to see a lot of friends and family back home.テつ You know, it's one of those things where it kind of came out of nowhere, and had a lot of fun having all that success.
You do have more time commitments and you have a lot more things you might have to say no to.テつ I like to think of myself as a pretty nice guy and don't like to say no too much.テつ Just been learning how to deal with all the success and the media attention.
I felt like maybe I put too much pressure on myself the last couple weeks and wasn't able to perform at my best.テつ Today was a huge match for confidence, and I think it will help me move forward.

Q.テつ Are you recognized in Nashville?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ A little bit, but not really.テつ It's not like a Titans player or something like that where a lot of people know.テつ The tennis community most people already knew me anyway.テつ There are a few other people that are the casual fans that know me now.

Q.テつ Get some of those do‑I‑know‑him kind of looks?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ Probably a little bit.テつ I know in the airport I got stopped a few times leaving the last time.テつ That probably would never have happened before.テつ It's not one of the things where I'm the huge celebrity or anything like that.テつ Nothing like that.

Q.テつ Could you detail your first match back on the satellite circuit, where it was, and could you tell me a little bit about what that was like?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ Yeah, I mean, it was futures.テつ There is no more satellites.テつ It's still a lower level.テつ I think it was over July 4th, I think, 2011, I was Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.テつ I think it's been pretty well‑documented where I had to get a wildcard to get in the quallies and won the tournament without losing a set.
Obviously it's a lot different than coming here.テつ You win the whole tournament and I think it's $1,250 dollars prize money and 18 points; whereas here I'm not sure exactly what it is, but it's a heck of a lot more.

Q.テつ But the lifestyle, riding around in vans, getting dumpy hotels, how much different is it?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ It's a lot different, but I already knew that going in because I had already played on tour before, you know, 18, 19, 20.テつ I had the success at the US Open, but I also had to start like everybody else in the futures.
Of course it's a huge difference.テつ The quality of just the site, the hotels, the money, everything is a lot nicer up here.テつ That's why guys like to stay up here.
But sometimes, like me, when you have injuries, you lose your ranking and you have to start back from the bottom; that's what I did.

Q.テつ Is it easy to enjoy the tennis part on that level when you're trying to struggle your way back up?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ Yeah, I was just enjoying being able to play again.テつ I was out seven years, so just being able to play was kind of an accomplishment in itself.
It was kind of one of those unknowns where I didn't know where my game was.テつ I hadn't played against anybody.テつ I was fortunate that I was playing pretty good.テつ I still took my lumps a little bit last year, but I proved that when I'm playing well, I can play with anybody.

Q.テつ And on the futures, would you run into guys that you had known somewhere along the way or was it all strangers?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ There are a few people I would know.テつ Futures not as much just because the guys I came up with and knew, most of the time if you're still in futures after six or seven years you've quit.
The guys I knew were in the challengers and ATP.テつ So the futures I was more ‑‑ I didn't know a lot of the guys.テつ Of course I had heard of them and seen them from afar, but I didn't know them.テつ It's not until I got to the challengers and then back to the ATP that I saw a lot of the guys I knew from before.

Q.テつ Is it almost like suddenly you had been on the varsity and now you're on the JVs again and you're out of place?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ I think my situation is more unique just because I was on no team for seven years.テつ So it's not like I‑‑ I never really got to the top to where I was top 100 playing ATPs consistently, so it's not like I did really well and then just started losing all these matches and went all the way back down.
I don't see how you can compare it like that.テつ It was more of I got out of the game and I came back and I had to start in the bottom because I didn't have a ranking.

Q.テつ If somebody would have tapped you on the shoulder last July, August and said, Next year you'll be winning rounds in majors and Masters 1000 events, what would have turned and said to them?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ That's awesome.テつ Show me how to do it.テつ So, no, it's been one of those things where the last couple weeks playing against more lower‑ranked guys at smaller tournaments, didn't play well, but found the way this summer at the big times.
I was able to do that again today.テつ I'll take that.テつ I'll take the loses at some of smaller ones if I can play well at the big ones.テつ Hopefully I can be more consistent.

Q.テつ Just going back to those results after Wimbledon, how much of it do you think was having had all the attention in Paris and again in London, getting into these other tournaments, and it was a bit of taking stock, a bit of a letdown, and that you had to recharge and get going again?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ Yeah, I think some of that's for sure true.テつ You're at such a high, it's really hard to have anything that's going to be that good or keep that going.
So I think some of this was that.テつ And then maybe just a little too much pressure on myself just because I knew that I was capable of playing well or playing that well.テつ And then when I wasn't playing that well, maybe I let my confidence slip too fast.
I'm probably my own worst critic at times.テつ I'm pretty hard on myself, where if I do well I kind of tell myself, That's expected.テつ If I don't do well, What's going on?
So probably a combination of a lot of things.

Q.テつ Have you hired a coach or physio or anything?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ I am working with ‑‑ he's actually the head coach at Belmont, Jim Madrigal.テつ He's still going to go back to his job in the fall, but I've been traveling with him this summer.テつ Sharing a physio with Rajeev Ram the last three, four weeks.テつ So I do have a couple extra additions.

Q.テつ Is it easy for you to just play tennis and not worry about anything that hurts or might fall apart?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ No, it's nice.テつ It's nice when you go into a tournament and you focus on tennis and not what's going on with the body.
But sometimes maybe if something is bothering you a little bit you don't think too much about your tennis game either.
But I still have had to go to the training room and deal with a few things.テつ It's nothing that's affecting my practice or my play, and that's huge.

Q.テつ All of this hasn't turned you into a hypochondriac, I hope.
BRIAN BAKER:テつ No, I feel like everything that happened happened ‑‑ I was actually hurting, so I don't think I'm hypochondriac status yet.

Q.テつ Just going through a three‑match slump, can you imagine what Donald Young would be going through with 17th losses?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ No, I mean, I know it's got to be tough.テつ You know, you're not going to have confidence even if you're playing well in practice until you do it in a match.
I know he's had a ton of tough matches, a lot of close matches.テつ From what I see it looks like he's still playing well.テつ It's just, like I said sometimes these matches come down to that few points here and there.
So I'm sure he'll get out of it soon.テつ He's a great player and he'll find a way.

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