Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tennis's Victoria Duval: a teenager to the majors born

American sports has a new sweetheart, and her name is Victoria Duval. While watching her rout of U.S. Open champion (and No. 11 seed ) Samantha Stoser the other day, we began to piece together data on this adorable pixie who is five ten and still growing, looked like she's 14 (in a baggy dress from Venus Williams' line), hails originally from Haiti, and whales on her forehand as if to the majors born.
Duval had to pass through the qualifying rounds just to get in the tournament! Part of the fun in watching the match was seeing the joy and pride on the face of her father, a doctor who is still recovering from injuries sustained during the earthquake in his home country. Here is a bit from her post-match interview:
Q. For people who are getting familiar with you, how would you describe your personality on and off the court?
VICTORIA DUVAL: Uhm, I am very goofy off the court, so... I think I'm very much of a child at heart. Uhm, on the court, you have to be a warrior because that's just the sport we are in. You know, off the court I think it's important to have fun and be a good role model for other people. Just, I don't know, have fun. My motto is 'have fun.'
Q. How did that mentality manifest itself in tonight's match?
VICTORIA DUVAL: Well, it was definitely more important in the closing out stages and in the tougher stages, because I wasn't thinking about the score or anything because I didn't want to get too wrapped up in what else was going on. Just staying focused I think is the most important thing.
Q. Can you clarify with your growth spurt, how tall are you and how much do you weigh now?
VICTORIA DUVAL: I'm 5'10", and last time I weighed I was 150.
Q. You're not the working with Bollettieri at the moment?
VICTORIA DUVAL: Well, I talk to him a lot. I mean, I'm not physically at IMG. I take help from everyone. We have a great relationship. I call him Uncle Nick.
Q. We're in the interview in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
VICTORIA DUVAL: Uh huh.
Q. Were you aware about 20 years ago he was in a protest for the rights of Haitian refugees in Washington and was arrested at that time?
VICTORIA DUVAL: Who was?
Q. Arthur Ashe.
VICTORIA DUVAL: Okay. I didn't know that, no. That's fantastic. Was he in this chair?
Q. I don't think he was around when this stadium was built.
VICTORIA DUVAL: Okay.
Q. He was at the US Open the day before that occurred.
VICTORIA DUVAL: Thank you. That's a great fact right there.
Q. Can you talk about your path from when you won the 10 and under tournament to becoming a very good junior with your parents, was it financially difficult, teaching, all of that?
VICTORIA DUVAL: Yeah, it was definitely financially difficult, especially after the earthquake. My dad wasn't able to work anymore. I've been very fortunate. A couple family members have helped me. Hopefully with this win today, that will change a little bit.
Q. Your dad went back to Haiti during the earthquake while you were in Florida?
VICTORIA DUVAL: Yeah, we were in Atlanta at the time. But, yeah, he flew back the day before it happened,

Love sports? Have a gander at The Best American Sports Writing series, as well as The Only Game in Town: Sportswriting from The New Yorker. And should you want to bone up on the fine points and lore of tennis (plus many other sports), check out The Ultimate Book of Games: Rules and Ideas for Over 250 Indoor and Outdoor Games.

1 comment:

  1. Ms. Duval is very young; there's always next year.
    Are you still in NY, JP? Paying too much for hotdogs and soda?

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