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Victor Estrella:"In my first tournament they didn't let me to play [I was too short]"

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/03/sports/tennis/burgos-an-improbable-trailblazer-takes-aim-at-us-open.html?ref=tennis&_r=0

By BEN ROTHENBERG AUG. 2, 2014

WASHINGTON — The longest road to the biggest stages of tennis started where no road had before.


Victor Estrella Burgos, who turned 34 on Saturday, will be the oldest player ever to make his debut in the main draw at the United States Open when it begins Aug. 25. He will also be the first from the Dominican Republic to participate in the 128-player draw. In February, he became the first Dominican to crack the ATP top 100 after he won a Challenger tournament in Salinas, Ecuador.

“I won the tournament, and finally it means that my dream is true, to make top 100,” he said last week. “This day I’m not going to forget because it’s unbelievable how I wanted so much to show the world that in Dominican, we can play tennis. We have the athleticism for this; just we have to work hard.”

Ranked 87th, Estrella Burgos is projected to reach a career-best No. 80 this week after reaching the third round of the Citi Open in Washington. His ascent has been steep: At this time last year, he was ranked outside the top 300.

No one else in Estrella Burgos’s family played tennis, but his father was friendly with a coach at a tennis club in their city, Santiago. With 8-year-old Victor frequently fighting with his two older brothers, his father sent him to the club to stay out of trouble, and the coach channeled Victor’s hyperactivity into work as a ball boy.

“My first time, nobody was teaching me,” he said. “I think I saw, I copied from other people, how they played, and then I start to play. Thank God the club allowed me to play, because I was a hyper kid, but I never made trouble.”

Though small for his age (even now he is only 5 feet 8 inches), Estrella Burgos began playing against older teenagers and adults.

“The first time I played an adult tournament, I was 14 years old,” he said. “They don’t want to let me play because I’m so short, so small. I was like 5 feet, maximum. They don’t want me to play because the tournament had an alcohol sponsor, Heineken. They said, ‘No, he cannot play.’ I was crying; I was fighting with them, ‘Please, I want to play.’

“And then they let me play in my city. I made the semifinals, in Santiago. After that, they let me play all the alcohol tournaments.”


But because he had little money, Estrella Burgos largely delayed his career at the ages when most players are making their biggest pushes to reach the tour. He worked at the club in Santiago as a coach, competing only occasionally in tournaments and for the Dominican’s Davis Cup team.

In 2006, after a brief stint working as a sparring partner for the Puerto Rican Davis Cup team in Miami, Estrella Burgos, at the urging of a coach, decided to try to make a living in Futures and Challenger events in the Americas. His results were largely unimpressive until a year ago, when he was inspired by a surprisingly successful recovery from an injured elbow ligament.

“I still have the level,” he remembered thinking, “and I’m going to keep it.”

After moving into the top 100 in February, Estrella Burgos played in the main draw of Grand Slam events for the first time, at the French Open in May and at Wimbledon in June, losing in the first round both times.

In July, Estrella Burgos had his best result at the ATP level, reaching the semifinals of a tournament in Bogotá, Colombia, by ousting 14th-ranked Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinals. He lost to the eventual champion, Bernard Tomic, in a third-set tiebreaker.


Along with an ability to summon better tennis against tough competition, Estrella Burgos attributes much of his rapid rise to a focus on conditioning. Instead of playing tournaments, he is taking the next two weeks off for a training regimen designed to put him in peak shape for the Open.

Though he wants to keep playing, Estrella Burgos plans to start a foundation to provide equipment to promising young players and increase the number of public courts in Santiago (population 550,753), where there were only nine public courts, most in disrepair.

“This is making me very sad,” he said of the lack of opportunities. “A lot of little guys, I think they can have talent, but they cannot play because they don’t have memberships.”

Estrella Burgos said that more children in his country, a world power in baseball, had been motivated to play tennis by his success.

“They are motivated because I’m the first one,” he said. “I receive every times a lot of messages from the kids and everything. But it’s not going to be easy. They have to be very interested and working hard.”

Estrella Burgos hopes the excitement of his playing at the Open will inspire even more children, especially with the crowds he hopes will support him in New York, home to more than 650,000 Dominicans.

At his second-round victory in Washington last week, the contingent was small but boisterous, which he said reflected the outsize energy of his nation.

“If here we have 10 Dominican people,” he said after that match, “it’s going to be like 100, for sure.”

 

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Re: Victor Estrella:"In my first tournament they didn't let me to play [I was too sho

I think it is such a heartwarming story for tennis and I'm pleased the tennis media is picking up on it more.
 

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Re: Victor Estrella:"In my first tournament they didn't let me to play [I was too sho

:worship:
 

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Re: Victor Estrella:"In my first tournament they didn't let me to play [I was too sho

Legend keeps growing!
 

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Re: Victor Estrella:"In my first tournament they didn't let me to play [I was too sho

:worship: Hope he can make Top 50 what a legend
 

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Re: Victor Estrella:"In my first tournament they didn't let me to play [I was too sho

Legendary guy :bowdown:
 

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Re: Victor Estrella:"In my first tournament they didn't let me to play [I was too sho

Some weeks ago there was a thread here on MTF asking if there is any player on MTF who no one hates. Maybe we found the guy...

:worship:
 

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Re: Victor Estrella:"In my first tournament they didn't let me to play [I was too sho

Some weeks ago there was a thread here on MTF asking if there is any player on MTF who no one hates. Maybe we found the guy...

:worship:
This. Nobody should dislike this guy what he has done is what Johnny G thinks he's going to do
 

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Re: Victor Estrella:"In my first tournament they didn't let me to play [I was too sho

Some weeks ago there was a thread here on MTF asking if there is any player on MTF who no one hates. Maybe we found the guy...

:worship:
Wrong. GOATstrella has one or two haters acually :facepalm:
 

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Re: Victor Estrella:"In my first tournament they didn't let me to play [I was too sho

hope to read a similar story about our Johnny in a couple of years
 

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Re: Victor Estrella:"In my first tournament they didn't let me to play [I was too sho

He's a Star.

Up there with Warlocq
 

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Re: Victor Estrella:"In my first tournament they didn't let me to play [I was too sho

Some weeks ago there was a thread here on MTF asking if there is any player on MTF who no one hates. Maybe we found the guy...

:worship:
Never underestimate MTF.

One of the worst posts in MTF history :facepalm:

This cheapens the win of Zverev quiet a bit and that's a shame. I know Estrella I train every day in the main court where he plays DC. Saw him winning in singles and doubles againts Urugay this year wiht Jose Hernandez. I took an autograph out of Hernandez but not from Victor, just Asked Victor if he had seen Kyrgios playing. Don't like his play It's a bit of a cheater in doubles pretty short and has no backhand.

First time I saw the guy 2010 playing futures as 227 in the world It's a complete shame he is in the top hundred I think.
 

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Re: Victor Estrella:"In my first tournament they didn't let me to play [I was too sho

Does not compute

It couldn't be his first tournament if they didn't let him play.

That would be like me saying the 2014 Rogers Cup is my first tournament, but they didn't let me play
 

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Re: Victor Estrella:"In my first tournament they didn't let me to play [I was too sho

Does not compute

It couldn't be his first tournament if they didn't let him play.

That would be like me saying the 2014 Rogers Cup is my first tournament, but they didn't let me play
That's like saying my first girlfriend was a 10, but she refused to go out with me.
 

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Re: Victor Estrella:"In my first tournament they didn't let me to play [I was too sho

That's like saying my first girlfriend was a 10, but she refused to go out with me.
Nice :yeah:

The first time I won the lottery I won 8 billion dollars, but they refused to give it to me :sad:
 

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Re: Victor Estrella:"In my first tournament they didn't let me to play [I was too sho

Cool but I need to point out a few things. I practise everyday in Santo Domingo used to play in the most popular tennis centre in the heart of the city, people engaged to lose weigth, get fit, or to have fun playing doubles and singles among friends, almost nobody knows about Victor and only a small few care about his career. Among all the kids know about Victor existence the less.

Now I'm practising on the best centre of SD a bit far from the town centre, and almost nobody goes there, nobody disputes me the Main court any day. Davis cup attracks about hundred people. Nobody writes about tennis in the sports section of our papers.

VICTOR YOU'RE NOT INSPIRING ANYONE, STOP SAYING THAT YOU KNOW THAT IT'S NOT TRUE.

I'm glad of his succes only because that mean he won't be int the 3 futures we will host, since I'm going to enter them.
 

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Cool but I need to point out a few things. I practise everyday in Santo Domingo used to play in the most popular tennis centre in the heart of the city, people engaged to lose weigth, get fit, or to have fun playing doubles and singles among friends, almost nobody knows about Victor and only a small few care about his career. Among all the kids know about Victor existence the less.

Now I'm practising on the best centre of SD a bit far from the town centre, and almost nobody goes there, nobody disputes me the Main court any day. Davis cup attracks about hundred people. Nobody writes about tennis in the sports section of our papers.

VICTOR YOU'RE NOT INSPIRING ANYONE, STOP SAYING THAT YOU KNOW THAT IT'S NOT TRUE.

I'm glad of his succes only because that mean he won't be int the 3 futures we will host, since I'm going to enter them.
Stay pressed. Stay very pressed. :eek:
 

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Re: Victor Estrella:"In my first tournament they didn't let me to play [I was too sho

shots fired.

I say mods track down Zv2014 ip to see if he's really typing from DR
 
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