British No. 2 Baker recovering from virus

Jamie Baker became the British No 2 this week but has hardly been in the mood to celebrate. The 21-year-old Glaswegian is facing a long spell on the sidelines after going down with a virus that attacked his blood system and could even have proved fatal.





Baker was practising at his Florida training camp four weeks ago when he noticed bruising on his arms, a rash on his shoulder and blood on his handkerchief after he blew his nose. His practice partner’s mother, a nurse, advised him to go to hospital and after tests he was admitted to intensive care.



Further tests revealed that he was suffering either from a virus called ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura) or a post-viral condition with similar effects. ITP causes the spleen to destroy platelets in the blood. Platelets are fragments of bone marrow cells that help blood to clot and when levels are low it can be difficult to stop bleeding. In extreme cases a lack of platelets can be fatal.



The tests on Baker showed that his levels were “catastrophically low” and he was told that he could have bled to death from even a minor cut or bump. He was put on a course of medication, based on steroids, and returned to Britain nine days later after being released from hospital.



Baker, who said he felt perfectly healthy throughout the whole episode, is now under the care of a specialist in Glasgow, although he has returned to his Loughborough training base. His levels of medication have subsequently been cut by half, but he has been advised to take gentle exercise only every other day.



He expects to be able to increase his physical work in the coming weeks, but a return to competition before the end of the summer seems unlikely. Only when the exact cause of his problem is identified will he be able to plan a full recovery programme.



The medical problems have coincided with Baker’s climb to his highest position in the British rankings, in second place behind Andy Murray. Alex Bogdanovic, the previous No 2, has been in poor form of late and has dropped from a career-high No 108 in the world rankings last June to No 258 after a bad run of results.



Baker is currently ranked at No 241, though he has dropped from his career-high ranking of No 211 five months ago. He has won two Futures tournaments this year and in January qualified for the Australian Open, where he was far from disgraced in losing in four sets to Ivo Karlovic in the first round. He also performed well in Britain’s Davis Cup tie against Argentina in February, beating Agustin Calleri, the world No 41, in a dead rubber.



John Lloyd, Britain’s Davis Cup captain, has been a big supporter of Baker, who has impressed him with his dedication and hard work. Lloyd will be desperate to have the Scot available for the World Group play-off against Austria in September. If Baker was unable to play and Bogdanovic was continuing to struggle, the captain would be forced to consider the likes of Josh Goodall, the current world No 269, and Richard Bloomfield, the No 374, as a second singles player alongside Murray, assuming the British No 1 is fit to play.



Murray, speaking after his defeat by Novak Djokovic at the Monte-Carlo Masters yesterday, said he had not been in contact with Baker, his fellow countryman, but added: “I don't know the ins-and-outs of it, but he’s obviously had a very bad illness. Hopefully he'll be fit and healthy again soon.”

News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
Sport
Sean Abbott
cricketSean Abbott is named Australia's young cricketer of the year
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea