Vicky Duval: It Was A Break I Needed
American tennis player Vicky Duval, who announced in September that she is cancer free after stepping away from the game due to Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is slowly making her way back to competition. But while she’s not quite ready to step back onto the tennis court, she’s now ready to share her inspiring story in a TEDx talk.
Being away from the tennis court was hard for the Miami-born Haitian-American player, who spent three months in treatment. But she made the most out of her unexpected time off.
“In hindsight, it was a break I needed,” Duval told wtatennis.com. “It gave me the chance to reflect on my life, my tennis, and on who I am and what I want.”
Ranked as high as World No.87, Duval’s career was on an upswing when she received the devastating news. She had been struggling with pain in her back and legs, and was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma right before the first round of Wimbledon 2014 qualifiers.
“It was the hardest moment of my life,” she recalled. Given the choice to go home right away to start treatment or stay and play, Duval chose to keep playing. She made it through qualifiers and as far as the second round, upsetting 29th-seeded Sorana Cirstea along the way. “I just wanted to put if off for a little bit longer and just play as many matches as possible before going home.”
Now cancer free for six months, Duval is taking slow steps to get her fitness back. Her focus is on regaining lost muscle and endurance. She’s not yet back on court, but she can’t wait to return to competition.
“Sometimes I’ll be gripping my racquet at home, just to remember what it feels like.”
Duval has been invited to speak to speak at Game Changers, a TEDxYouth talk hosted at IMG Academy that focuses on athletes and sports industry figures with amazing stories of overcoming adversity, impacting change and inspiring others. But while the topic might be somber, Duval approaches it in the same way she approaches most things – with a smile.
“I just laugh about my life, now,” Duval said.
“It’s been hard, yeah, but now I can look back at it and smile.”
(Article originally posted on wtatennis.com)