P. KOHLSCHREIBER/B. Baker
6‑1, 7‑6, 6‑3
Q. How do you reflect on the match and your Wimbledon experience as a whole?
BRIAN BAKER: Obviously I'm disappointed about the match today. Didn't feel like I returned quite as well. But some of that had to do with him serving. He hit his spots when he had to, so I didn't really put in a lot of returns in play when I had chances and came out pretty flat. He took advantage of that.
Felt like the second set, you know, I thought I was holding maybe a little bit easier than he was. The 4‑All point in the breaker comes to mind that he hits some lob that somehow landed on the line. Lost that set.
And the third set I think he had one breakpoint and got it; I had a couple and didn't. Maybe it was a little bit closer than the score said, but he definitely, like I said, came up with some good shots at the times he had to.
Q. And about Wimbledon?
BRIAN BAKER: It's been an unbelievable run. Can't be too upset about that, even though as a competitor definitely pretty frustrated right now, to get that far, not to feel like I played my best match.
But that stuff happens. Hopefully I'll learn from it and have more opportunities.
Q. Quite a lot of shots hit the line. I could see you getting frustrated.
BRIAN BAKER: Yeah, I mean, that stuff happens. Whether they're just inside the line or not, they're still good shots. But I felt like there were a few points where I was in position to do something, and the ball would literally just stop.
But that's grass court tennis. You got to move on from that. I mean, I hit a couple lines as well. I just felt like there was a couple big points where it happened against me.
But, like I said, that happens.
Q. One of the most frustrating points was when you had a breakpoint in the last game and you slipped.
BRIAN BAKER: That was actually deuce. But, no, I mean, yeah, of course that was frustrating. But, like you said, you put yourself in those situations. You can't count on one point to make the difference in the match, even though sometimes you feel like at the time it does make a difference.
Q. What were your expectations on the eve of this tournament? What are your goals now that you're leaving this tournament?
BRIAN BAKER: On the eve of the main draw? Quallies?
Q. Main draw.
BRIAN BAKER: I don't know if I put an expectation like I need to get to this round or not. I was just hoping to continue the momentum from the French, which I obviously did. I think when I go onto the court I'm expecting to at least play good tennis and expect to win when you walk on the court.
But I don't know if starting first‑round quallies I would have thought I would have maybe gotten to the fourth round of Wimbledon. But coming into the match today I hoped to have a different result, so it's still frustrating.
Q. Leaving here now, what do you see as your goals?
BRIAN BAKER: Right now it's to go back home. I'm signed up for Newport. I'm not positive. It's probably 50/50 if I'm going to play or not. In the next day or two I'll decide on that.
I'll play the summer hard courts, at least Atlanta and L.A., possibly D.C. Hopefully I'll have some good results leading into the Open.
Q. You left America to come over here as one player. You're going back as a completely different player. Can you talk a bit about that. What have you proved to yourself?
BRIAN BAKER: Well, completely different ranked player. (Smiling.) Hopefully similar player on the court.
But, no, if someone had told me when I left ‑‑ I think I was ranked something like 220 when I came over here, and then to leave, I don't know what I'll be, maybe around 80, I would have been very, very happy that you told me that.
If you take the whole trip, or if you take the trip as a whole, it's been great. It's been unbelievable. I've gained a lot of confidence with my game and proven that I can stay healthy playing a lot of matches.
Basically since I've been coming back it's been about the health, and now it's about the game. So that's a good thing.
I'm excited to go back home and play on the hard courts and try to get my game in shape for the US Open. It's been an unbelievable ride. Very happy to have been able to experience a lot of success.
Q. Does he have a surprising amount of firepower for a guy his size?
BRIAN BAKER: Yeah, I think his serve is pretty solid, or better than solid, for a guy his size. He's popping it a lot harder than I am. Today ‑ I haven't seen a lot of his other matches ‑ but it seemed like he's hitting his spots really well. There was a couple games where he missed first serves, but I felt like any time I got a sniff, he would hit an ace on the line or hit one right inside the line.
So that was very frustrating, because normally I break at least once or twice in a match. Not to break once, that's really difficult.
Yeah, but even from the ground he didn't give me too many freebies. Maybe one or two every now and again, but never strung any together. Felt like it just put that much more pressure on me. Made me maybe be a little more aggressive than I wanted to be.
Q. You were away from the game for so long, and the game keeps improving. Are you surprised that you've been able to come back and your game has risen without the play? Do you have an explanation?
BRIAN BAKER: No, that's tough. I mean, it's not like when I took off six years I didn't hit balls, but I definitely wasn't playing or training against people of this caliber.
So it was very nice to see that I'm able to step my game up. My game is better than it was when I was playing before. I don't know if I have an exact formula as to why that is. I think a lot of it's confidence. When you're confident I think you believe in yourself, and during the crucial moments you play your best tennis.
But I don't think sitting a year ago from now playing the futures and stuff like that that I thought I would have transitioned maybe this fast. So that's been, you know, a lot of fun to be able to play some of your best tennis on the biggest stage.
I think that's been the most fun thing to be able to do.
Q. String changes or anything helped you?
BRIAN BAKER: I mean, I've been using the Luxilon string for several years now. When I was playing before I did not. I think it definitely helps parts of my game, be able to get a little more spin on the ball. On this surface I don't know how much that really helps.
Q. If you were taking sort of a real tough look at this, you could say, Okay, this European trip has been absolutely fantastic. Now the fun begins in a way. How do you sustain this breakthrough?
BRIAN BAKER: The approach will be the same, but I will be more confident. I mean, I think when you're getting straight into tournaments, not having to take wild cards, you've already proven you can beat a lot of guys ranked in the top 100, top 50, you're definitely going to have confidence from that.
When I go back home and start playing the tournaments, the approach will be the same. I mean, I'm going to train the same way; I'm going to probably practice the same way. But on the court you believe in yourself a little bit more. You know you've done it in the past.
I hope to be able to keep having good results leading into the Open and see where the sky, where the limit is.
Q. And that confidence becomes a real factor at crunch time?
BRIAN BAKER: Oh, it's huge. Tennis, like any other sport, a ton of that's confidence. A lot of times you might not be hitting the ball that much better, but if you're confident, I think your opponent senses it, you sense it, you play the bigger points better.
A lot of times the match comes down to just a few points here and there.
Q. Have you been hitting with some of the U.S. juniors here during the week at all?
BRIAN BAKER: I did hit with ‑‑ I warmed up with one this morning, and then on the middle Sunday I hit with one as well.
Q. Do you remember who they were?
BRIAN BAKER: Yeah, the middle Sunday I believe it was Noah Rubin. And today, I'm not sure I can pronounce his last name, but it was Ty, and then a long‑last name.
Q. You were in their position nine, ten years ago. Do they ever ask you advice? If they did now, what would you tell them?
BRIAN BAKER: Well, it was a pretty brief hit this morning with the rain and everything. There wasn't much talk. The other day it was just getting to know someone. Who are you? Where are you from? Who do you play? There was not a lot of advice given.
If they asked, this morning it wouldn't have been applicable, but the other day I would have. The advice is, I mean, it's a really different story from me about how to go about things. It's take care of your body. You know, it's a confidence thing. The tour's a grind. You're not going to have success every week, week in and week out, unless you're the top two or three guys.
I think you have to be able to handle the downs just as well as you handle the ups to be successful.
Q. Are you okay physically?
BRIAN BAKER: Yes. I've been icing my shoulder and my wrist after the match as a precaution. I mean, they get a little sore, but it's nothing that's bothering me on the court.
Q. Since your comeback, has there been any time you've though, Oh, something's gone out or whatever? Was that a difficult...
BRIAN BAKER: There's been stuff where I've had to address things, but there hasn't been anything to where I'm like, Oh, wow, this is bad. I'm going to have to go to the doctor and take time off. Last year I had a few things. I had to take some time off for my shoulder.
But now this year I haven't had to really adjust that.
Q. Are you fully committed to life full‑time on the tour now? Are you landing endorsements and sponsors?
BRIAN BAKER: Yeah. This year it's been full‑time. I think when I made the decision to come back, obviously I was going to give myself at least a year. Then once I had success, this is what I want to do for as long as my body's going to allow me to do it. Hopefully that will be at least four or five years.
As far as an endorsement, I haven't signed with an agent yet. It will probably happen very soon, and hopefully those will follow.
Q. Do you feel like you passed the breaking‑in period?
BRIAN BAKER: I think being older, the guys, they don't give me too much trouble at all. I'm not the 18‑, 19‑year‑old coming in that they can kind of give a hard time or stuff like that.
So this time around I feel like I've kind of earned it. I feel like I have broken through. The last two months it's been kind of a quick transition, but I feel like the first time around I was maybe close to knocking on the door.
This time I've actually knocked on the door, gotten an answer, and gone through the door. It's been a lot of fun these last two months, and I'm definitely not satisfied. Like today I was pretty frustrated after the match. I'm looking forward to doing bigger and better things.
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