The US Open has been another tournament to forget for American men’s tennis, with their worst showing in over ten years. This was the 40th Grand Slam tournament since an American won a major title. Just last month in the 40 year history of the ATP Rankings for the first time no American men were ranked in the top ten. John Isner was teh highest ranked at thirteen.
It was lucky that they had the story behind the star to take their mind off such events, and we are talking about the 17 year old who defeated Sam Stosur, Victoria Duval. Her life story so far reads like a movie and will no doubt one day become one.
Born in Miami but living in Port au Prince, in Haiti, Duval’s family moved to the USA after Victoria had a pistol shoved in her face and was kidnapped by a gang. Her father, a gynaecologist, however decided to stay behind and carry on his medical practice, while her mother a former ballet dancer created a new life for her and her two brothers in Atlanta.
In the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which killed approximately 250,000 people, Victoria’s family home collapsed on top of her father leaving him with broken legs, shattered vertebrae, broken arms and a punctured lung. He was convinced he was going to die, but he managed to fine his mobile phone and told his wife and family he loved them. Against all odds he crawled eventually to safety. He was airlifted to the USA and was nursed back to good health.
Victoria acknowledged that her father was lucky that a US mission of mercy helicopter found her father after eleven hours under the rubble. At that point in time they were not allowing planes to land in Haiti.
Her father has been unable to resume his medical career as he continues to have treatment. No doubt seeing his daughter defeating former champion Sam Stosur will have been just the tonic he needed.
She may not have won her second round match against Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchkova, but she reminded many that the pain of Haiti lives on with many, and her win meant just as much as if she had won the tournament.