Victor Estrella becomes oldest first-time ATP champion at 34 years and six months
Victor Estrella Burgos became of the oldest first-time champion of an ATP event in the Open Era, beating top-seeded Feliciano Lopez on Sunday in Quito. The 34-year-old Dominican overcame his Spanish rival in three sets, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5). He was the first Dominican to reach final on the ATP World Tour.
“I’m really happy to be able to win my first ATP title at age 34. I dreamed about not retiring without winning an ATP title. It is very important to every player; for me it is very meaningful, without a doubt,” said Estrella in an interview with ATPWorldTour.com.
“(The title) means a lot to me to be in the book of tennis records. Same as last year when I was the oldest player to debut at the US Open , and now I am the oldest first-time titlist. I’m making history for my country, for me and for tennis worldwide. I think that age is just a number for me,” said the Dominican star, now ranked world No. 52.
Other two players in tennis history also lifted their first title at a later stage in their career: Australia’s Wayne Arthurs won his first title in 2005 at the age of 33 years and 11 months, and American Tom Gullikson was only one month younger when he clinched his maiden ATP trophy in 1985. Victor Estrella set a new record at 34 years and six months.
Used to playing Challengers and Future tournaments, Estrella has only participated in three Grand Slam events last year: Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open. At Flushing Meadows, he claimed his only two victories at a major against Igor Sijsling and Borna Coric.
Estrella celebrated his Australian Open debut in 2015, losing his opener against Jurgen Melzer. On the road to his title in Quito, he saw off Andre Ghem, Renzo Olivo, Martin Klizan, Thomas Bellucci and World No. 14 Feliciano Lopez.