Caribbean National Makes History At U.S. Open

DR-tennis-player-Victor Estrella Burgos
DR Tennis player Victor Estrella Burgos. (Hayden Roger Celestin images/NAN)

News Americas, FLUSHING, NY, Weds. Aug. 27, 2014: Caribbean national Victor Estrella Burgos made history on Day Two of the 2014 U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, Corona Park, New York on Tuesday.

Estrella Burgos became the first player from the Dominican Republic to win a match at a Grand Slam tournament, beating Igor Sijsling of the Nederlands. 2-6; 6-4; 6-3; 6-2 in his first round match on Court 6 as thongs of DR fans screamed his name.

Estrella Burgos, ranked number 80 in the world, is the first player from the Dominican Republic to compete in the main draw of the US Open and the oldest player to make his main draw debut at a Grand Slam at the age of 34.

“I was a little nervous serving at match point, especially in New York with a lot of Dominican people coming to support me,” he commented after the match. “When I was serving in the last point, I was almost crying because of the emotion. I saw the last ball go out and was like, ‘Okay, I can be happy now.’”

Estrella Burgos didn’t begin playing tennis on tour full-time until just before his 26th birthday. After limiting himself to Davis Cup matches for his home country and the occasional pro tournament, he decided in July 2006 to give his dreams of a pro tennis career his full attention.

DR-tennis-player-Victor Estrella Burgos
Victor Estrella Burgos in action on Court Six at the US Open on Tues. Aug. 6, 2014. (Hayden Roger Celestin image)

His rise up the rankings is even more miraculous considering that Estrella Burgos tore the cartilage in his elbow in September 2012 and was off the tour for eight months. For a 32-year-old who had never cracked the Top 150 in the rankings, it would be understandable to most if he hung up his racquets. Instead, Estrella Burgos found himself even more motivated to achieve his dreams and returned to the pro tour with a vengeance.Within six months, he had won three Challengers. Last March, he finally cracked the Top 100. And for someone who spent years playing for a pittance at small tournaments in far-flung locations throughout the world, the $60,420 he’s guaranteed for reaching the second round here will be a welcome relief.

“The Dominican people were supporting me, but sometimes they were calling the ball out [during the point] when it was in. I had to say ‘please don’t call it out’ because I was getting confused,” the

Santiago-born player added with a laugh. “But they were screaming and singing my name. It made me feel confident in each point so I hope they come back.”

In a battle of youth versus experience, Estrella Burgos will now play his second-round match against 17-year-old Borna Coric of Croatia.