Seventeen year old Victoria Duval made headlines Wednesday morning for upsetting the former champion, Samantha Stosur, at the U.S. Open. But the teenager’s troubled past, pleasant personality and sky-high ambitions are just as newsworthy.
The Miami-born Haitian-American has endured her fair share of potential setbacks in her short career. While living in Port Au Prince as a child, Duval and her family members were robbed and held at gunpoint for hours.
“It was scary,” said Nadine, Victoria’s mother, of arriving at the home to find the S.W.A.T. team.
Shortly after the incident, Victoria and her family moved to the United States, forcing her mother to give up her medical practice. Her father, Jean-Maurice, had a practice of his own, and chose to stay behind.
In 2010, when the earthquake devastated Haiti, he was buried under his home. He was able to free himself from the rubble, but sustained two broken legs, a shattered arm, punctured lungs and seven broken ribs. A family that knew Victoria from the Racquet Club of The South in Atlanta agreed to pay for Jean-Maurice to be airlifted to a hospital in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. to receive treatment. If not for their contribution, he may have died.
Victoria, who entered the tournament ranked 298th, was able to triumph over her No. 11 seeded opponent, much like she has triumphed over her circumstances. What’s best, she remains jovial and optimistic.
“I learn pretty quickly, and I just want to help people. I think that’s the main thing.” Her tennis career has certainly allowed her to do that.