Melbourne: After being sidelined with injuries for nearly six years, Brian Baker was finally back on the tennis court with a second chance at a professional career. (Agencies)
Playing in his first Australian Open at the age of 27, Baker had just won the first set in his second-round match against fellow American Sam Querrey on Wednesday when his body gave out on him again.
He crumpled to the court after hitting a shot long and shouted in pain, grasping his right knee. After limping awkwardly and then hopping to his chair, he sat down, ripped off his headband and shook his head in frustration.
Baker retired several minutes later and was pushed off the court in a wheelchair. As the crowd applauded, a woman shouted from the stands, "Don't give up, Brian."
"He said he kind of just felt his knee almost buckle and kind of heard like a pop or a snap," 20th-seeded Querrey said after the match. "He didn't know if it was bones or a tear, but he couldn't straighten it, couldn't walk."
While the severity of the knee injury wasn't immediately known, the setback was no doubt a heartbreaking one for a player who has undergone five major surgeries but never had a knee problem until Wednesday.
"He's the last person that deserves anything like that," said Querrey, who has become friends with Baker as they've both come back from injuries over the past year.
Melbourne: After being sidelined with injuries for nearly six years, Brian Baker was finally back on the tennis court with a second chance at a professional career.