Comeback kids Haas, Baker made headlines in 2012

Brian Baker and ATP Comeback Player of the Year Tommy Haas returned to action with a bang in 2012. They were up for comeback honors along with Paul-Henri Mathieu and Sam Querrey.

Comeback Player of the Year: Tommy Haas. Talk about making up for lost time. Haas may be 34 years old, but as his 2012 campaign showed, he is not quite that old in tennis years due to a plethora of injuries throughout his career. The German did not play in 2011 until Roland Garros and he won only two matches prior to the U.S. Open. He started this season ranked 205th and ended it at No. 21. In the process, Haas finished runner-up in Hamburg and Washington, reached semifinals in Toronto and Shanghai, and beat Roger Federer for the Halle title.

Tommy Haas (vs. Nalbandian in Cincinnati)

Other nominees:

Brian Baker – In just about any other year, Baker would have won this thing going away. The 27-year-old American missed almost the entirety of seven straight seasons due to devastating injuries, but he returned with a bang in 2012. Out of literally nowhere, Baker made it to the Nice final, won a match at the French Open, then qualified for Wimbledon and reached the fourth round. He climbed almost 400 (yes, 400) ranking spots this year, from 456th to 61st.

Baker (beating Kohlschreiber in Cincy)

Paul-Henri Mathieu – That anyone is even in the same ballpark as Haas and Baker for this award is impressive. Mathieu’s 2012 comeback was just that. The 30-year-old Frenchman did not even have a ranking at the start of this season and he is now up to No. 58 in the world. Mathieu’s rise included semifinals in Gstaad and Basel plus a memorable run to the French Open third round.

Sam Querrey – At 25 years old, Querrey has dealt with more than hisindiana, meanwhile, is nasty fair share of hard-luck injuries, including slicing his arm by falling through a glass table in Bangkok. He fell out of the Top 100 in 2011 due to inactivity, began this season at No. 93, and is back up to No. 21 in the world–five spots off his career-high ranking.

Other possibilities: Thiemo De Bakker, Leonardo Mayer, Bjorn Phau

Who should have won? Haas. To say Baker is deserving would be an understatement, and honestly this award probably should have been split this season due to extenuating circumstances. But almost nobody in 2012 was more amazing than Haas, who defied the odds set by his age and turned back the clock in almost hard-to-believe fashion.

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