As Vicky Duval prepared for Wimbledon last month, she was eager to start her second season of Mylan World TeamTennis with the Philadelphia Freedoms. The news she received during Wimbledon, however, would change her plans.
After her first round of qualifying, Duval learned that she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But her love for the game didn’t stop her, as she moved through qualifying to main draw, where she beat No. 29 seed Sorana Cirstea in three sets and cracked the top 100 for the first time in her career.
Ahead of their season opener in Springfield, members of the Freedoms released a video message in support of Duval. Team owner and Mylan WTT co-founder Billie Jean King stated, “This is for you, Vicky.”
With that message comes a purpose. The Freedoms are playing with Duval in their hearts… and on their sleeves. The team unveiled a commemorative patch at their home opener on July 15. The patch is designed in Duval’s favorite color, baby blue, and features the purple awareness ribbon for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It will be worn for the remainder of the season as a reminder of strength and courage.
Duval has already started treatment since returning home from Wimbledon. On Thursday, she had her first session of chemo.
“Vicky Duval is, as much as ever, a Philadelphia Freedom,” Senior Vice-President and General Manager Barbara Perry said. “She may not be sitting on the bench, but her presence with the Freedoms team has never been stronger.”
Taylor Townsend, who reached the third round of the French Open, jumped at the opportunity to fill in for her friend and fellow rising WTA star.
“She’s such a good friend of mine, so I had to do it. It’s a pleasure to play in her place,” Townsend said on Tuesday.
Fans can leave a message for Duval in support of her battle by using the hashtag #4UVICKY. To view video messages of support from Mylan WTT players to Vicky, watch below.