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August 12, 2013

Brian Baker


B. BAKER/D. Istomin
7‑6, 6‑3

THE MODERATOR:テつ Brian, talk about the match.
BRIAN BAKER:テつ It's great to be back out there for sure, that's number one.テつ Like you said, second tournament back since January, so you're always thankful to be back on the court, or at least I am.
You're not probably going to feel your best your first match, couple matches back, after that long of a layoff, but I think the two matches I got last week, even though the conditions weren't very close, they at least helped get those maybe cobwebs, a little of them, out of the way.テつ Still had a few today.
Overall, it was a good match out there.テつ I was pleased with how things went.

Q.テつ Brian, coming back from an injury ‑ you've had so many of them ‑ but this most recent one, is it something you still think about your knee when you're playing, or can you put it out of your mind?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ For the most part, you can put it out of your mind.テつ When you try to step back on the court you want to make sure you're good enough to not have to be worried about that stuff.
I still probably haven't put the mileage in, the training to be probably as fit and strong as I want to be.テつ But as far as being able to play, yeah, it's pretty good.

Q.テつ You played with like a brace on the knee.テつ Precautionary?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ Yeah, it's not even really a brace.テつ It's just a sleeve.テつ So it's just more ‑‑ probably don't have to wear it here to keep warm, but last week when I was playing in 60 degree weather, that's where I picked it up.
I wasn't even planning on doing that, but it felt pretty good wearing it last week, so I decided to do it this week.
Q.テつ Were you chomping at the bit to come back?テつ You targeted Cincinnati for a particular reason?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ No.テつ The first tournament I was allowed to come back and still get a protected ranking was Atlanta.テつ I just wasn't quite ready.テつ Needed a couple more weeks.
This is a huge tournament on the schedule and it's nice to come back, but it wasn't the one I planned out several months ago, that, Hey, I want to come play Cincinnati.テつ It just worked out that way.
Q.テつ You chose to play APTOS before or after you were playing Cincinnati?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ I knew that I would probably be in Cincinnati in some form, whether quallies or main, before I went to APTOS.テつ I didn't find out I had main until APTOS, or after first round APTOS.

Q.テつ So you feel like you really did well today?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ I thought I managed my service games pretty well.テつ I had the one bad game where I hit two double faults.テつ Besides that, I wasn't trying to overpower him or anything.テつ I don't really have a serve that can do that.
I served a good percentage.テつ I thought I spotted the ball well.テつ Didn't give him a lot of looks in very many games.テつ That's nice to feel like you can gain some momentum when you're rolling through your service games, and I was able to do that for the most part.
So that sticks out in my mind as the biggest thing that I did well today.テつ At times I played well; at times I didn't.テつ I don't think he hit the ball as well as he could have either.
The conditions here, the ball flies a lot.テつ So if you don't hit it well, it's going to fly.テつ It's tough to get it to come back down.テつ All things considered, it was a good match.

Q.テつ Since you dropped out of the top 20 rankings, did you have any thoughts on the state of the state as it applies to American men's tennis?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ I think it's been pretty well‑documented that we don't have guys that are competing for slams right now.テつ That's definitely a shock to the American people's system or the fans because we've had so many great Grand Slam winners in past generations.
So I can understand the questions that keep coming up, but it's not like we're trying less hard to do well.テつ I just think that the sport's obviously gotten a lot more global, and the top four guys are probably the best four guys we've seen.
I don't know.テつ It's hard to compare generations, but it would be tough to have people that are better than them right now.
It's just one of those things where hopefully we get some guys coming up and John, Sam right now can play really well at a slam and try to quiet some of the critics.
But it's understandable, with the success that we've had in the past.

Q.テつ Is it cyclical?テつ Does it come and go?テつ Is that it?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ I think it just depends on who's the‑‑ who becomes the Grand Slam champions.テつ I don't know if you can teach a guy how to be a Grand Slam champion.テつ I think you can coach a guy to make him really, really good, but they've probably got to have something, that extra special level to become a Grand Slam champion.
Maybe it's cyclical.テつ If you have the kids watching Sampras and Agassi you have more kids getting into tennis, but U.S. has so many other sports that compete with taking top athletes, whereas a lot of the other countries it's soccer and then tennis.テつ That's not an excuse.テつ It's just kind of how it is.

Q.テつ Robby Ginepri said when he's gone to other places to train, like Argentina, and this happens in France too, where they have one facility where all the pro athletes can go and spar.テつ We don't have that here, and a lot of athletes are in Florida or California or Tennessee.テつ Is it something you think would help tennis if it was more united that way?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ They have the facility in Boca where I know a lot of the younger guys train, and then out in Carson, out in L.A., where like Fish, Querrey; Sock was out there a bit.テつ Kudla was in Boca.テつ Harrison is going to be spending more time in Boca.
So there are places to train.テつ I think our country, it is really big.テつ It would be hard to say this is our one spot.テつ A guy from California coming to Florida, it's like you have to live here if you want to train.テつ I think it's probably easier if you're staying and can have one spot where it's easier to get to.
But it's true.テつ If you train and practice with better players, you're probably going to produce better players.テつ If you're training people who aren't as good as you, it might work for some, but it's probably not going to produce as many top levels as you could.
So I think it is a good thing to try to get the top talent together.

Q.テつ Was it disheartening at all to get that injury in Melbourne after you spent so many years at it and came back?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ What do you think?

Q.テつ How do you get back on the horse and just come back here and you're winning a match in a Master's right after you get back?
BRIAN BAKER:テつ Didn't really have a choice as far as the rehab part.テつ I hurt my knee and had to have surgery.テつ There's a certain rehab that you have to go through.テつ It's not like I can just choose when to come back.
So, yeah, it was really tough.テつ I think I started playing some of my best tennis on hard court in Australia and had already had all the other injuries and was hoping not to sustain another big one.
You're always going to have some stuff going through the whole year.テつ If you play well enough and win enough matches, even the fittest guys out here are still going to have some injuries.
The big key is just to kind of stay away from the big ones, and I was not able to do that.テつ Yeah, I was devastated.テつ Didn't know exactly what it was at first.テつ It was nice it wasn't the ACL, but it was still a major surgery.
I don't like being the comeback kid every time, but it's kind of been forced on me.

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