The Dominican Victor Estrella Burgos recently won the ATP tournament of Quito. But he's not the only player from a small country who has to carry the national history of the sport on his shoulders alone. World tour of these lonely tennis players.

They will never dream of winning the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas. And for good reason: like the Dominican Victor Estrella Burgos, recent winner of the ATP tournament in Quito, they come from a small country and carry the history of their national tennis on their shoulders alone, without any other colleague to have ever won a title or been ranked among the top 100 in the ATP ranking. World tour of these lonely players.

 

Marcos Baghdatis (Cyprus)

 

A final at the Australian Open, a semi-final at Wimbledon, four ATP titles and an extraordinary popularity around the world, based on countless Greek diaspora but also because the man is particularly likeable. It would be nice, moreover, for his fans to warn him that it's time for him to return to the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, while he didn't go last year for the first time since his debut in the competition in 2000 while he was only 14 years old...

 

 

Estrella Victor Burgos (Dominican Republic)

 

Better late than never: by winning the ATP tournament of Quito at 34, Victor Estrella Burgos became the oldest player to open his prize list on the ATP Tour. Confirming an upward trajectory over the past year, him who reached the third round of the US Open... twelve years after his debut amongst professionals. Eulogy of patience.

 

Ronald Agenor (Haiti)

 

Haitian origins, born in Morocco, childhood in Congo and arrival in France at the age of 14, in the footsteps of a father diplomat at the United Nations: Ronald Agenor had predisposition for the necessary trips in a tennis career... He then spent two decades on the tour, meeting both Guillermo Vilas and Gustavo Kuerten. His best years were from 1987 to 1990, dense period during which he won three titles (Athens and Berlin in 1989, Genoa in 1990), a quarterfinal at Roland Garros (1989), a semi-final in Rome (1988) and even a great ranking of 22nd in the world. Representative of Haiti in three Olympics (1984, 1988, 1996), "the French Haitian" was also the protagonist, with Yannick Noah, of the first ATP final between two black players (Basel 1987).

 

 

Gilles Müller (Luxembourg)

 

If Luxembourg was never short on great players (Anne Kremer, Claudine Schaul or Karin Kschwendt), its high-level male athlete department is based on Gilles Müller, junior world champion in 2001 followed by a career of temporary show business worker, over many injuries. But when the planets lined up... his unusual game of serve-and-volley lefty allowed him to surprise Rafael Nadal (2005), Andy Roddick at the US Open (2005) and Nikolay Davydenko, still in New York (2008), when he reached the tournament quarterfinals after the qualifications.

 

Juan Antonio Marin (Costa Rica)

 

A rare assiduity amongst the top 150 in the world, and all this for what? All for a sad record of 17 defeats in the first round in as many Grand Slams. Ironically, he got his best chance to end the curse at the expense of the great Pete Sampras at Roland Garros in 1999, but bowed after 4 hours 20 minutes (6/7 6/4 7/5 6 / 7 6/4). His very own Grand Slam was the Bastad tournament, where he won his only ATP title in 1999, two years after playing his first final there.

 

 

Jean-Julien Rojer (Netherlands Antilles and Curacao)

 

Autonomous territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles existed from 1954 to 2010, date of their dissolution. Sportingly damaging when two natives of the Caribbean islands were taking-off at this exact time: Churandy Martina, European Athletics Champion and Jean-Julien Rojer, a prominent doubles specialist. After a 6th place in the world rankings, Rojer notably won the Miami Masters 1000 in 2013 and played four semi-finals in Grand Slams. He also won the French Open mixed doubles in 2014.

 

Ernests Gulbis (Latvia)

 

At each Baltic country its representative in recent years: Jürgen Zopp (ATP 71st) for Estonia, Ricardas Berankis (ATP 67th) for Lithuania, but we particularly think about Ernests Gulbis from Latvia. A player with two sides, sometimes fiery, with a backhand as exceptional than his forehand is unlikely. On the results side, the most beautiful face of world tennis since Marat Safin has a semi-final at Roland Garros in 2014, another quarterfinal in Paris in 2008, six ATP titles and a face-to-face nicely balanced with a certain Roger Federer (two victories, two defeats).

 

 

Sargis Sargsian (Armenia)

 

Andre Agassi's best friend on the tour spent a little more than eight years snug in the Top 100, with as highlights a title in Newport (1997) and a place in the last 16 at the Australian Open (2003) and US Open (2004). Winner in particular of Andy Roddick in the first round of the French Open in 2003, he was part of the cast of sidekicks who made of the American's journey in Paris an ordeal.

 

Dustin Brown (Jamaica)

 

Born from a Jamaican father and a German mother, Dustin Brown has inherited more fancy made in Kingston than Germanic rigor. And before choosing to represent Germany in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas since 2011, he had time to write a few pages of history for Jamaican tennis: first player from his island to win an ATP title (the doubles at Metz in 2010), first to "crack" the Top 100 in singles and doubles, and first to win a match in the big table of a Grand Slam since the beginnings of the Open era (at the 2010 US Open)...

 

 

Aleksandar Kitinov (Macedonia)

 

Poor singles player, Aleksandar Kitinov spent a dozen years doing the elevator between the main tour and Challengers in doubles. Stakhanovist of the courts - in 1999, he played 40 weeks out of the 45 in the ATP calendar - he has three titles (Bournemouth 1997, Basel 1999, Bucharest 2001) and was even 38th in the world at some point, making him, by far, the greatest Macedonian player in history... Even if there, people like to remember that the Canadian doubles legend, Daniel Nestor, born Nesterovic, had Macedonian ancestry, and that the future American tennis star Stefan Kozlov, winner of the last Orange Bowl, was born in Skopje. The hazards of emigration, the same phenomenon that deprived Greece of a duo Sampras-Philippoussis in the 1990s.

 

By Guillaume Willecoq