Vicky Duval's European Travels...
Published June 10, 2014 12:12
But it's not like Duval just showed up, took the court and won the match - the tour is a grind, with players combining the joys and perils of travelling with the necessary hours and hours on the practice court and in the gym. Sometimes it's hard for all of us to grasp everything that's really going on.
But here's the glimpse we've been waiting for. The 18-year-old Duval has been writing about her travels through Europe over the last month - from the trip over to her time in Paris, here she is...
From America To Prague
I'm getting ready to fly to Prague for the European season! My mom has not been traveling with me for a while but this time she has arranged to come along since it's going to be a long trip. It feels good to have her with me. I barely slept, not able to tame my excitement. It's been three years since my last trip to Europe.
It took an unusually long time to pack. I felt like I needed to bring my whole closet with me. When we got to the airport, I glanced at my bag and it looked like Thanksgiving turkey. And, to no surprise, the scale blew the whistle; but it eventually all worked out with a little bit of reorganizing. Yeah! I hate extra fees!
The flight was completely full. Luckily, I was able to change my seat from the middle to an aisle. Thank God! I said a prayer because I am a bit afraid of flying. Shhh don't tell anyone :P It's silly because most of the year, I hop from one plane to another to get to the next tournament. Anyway, I slept for most of the way.
Upon landing, I took the time to admire the lush green landscape. So pretty, so serene. The airport is next to a body of water, so it seemed as though we were going to land in the river. The landing itself was quite an experience, almost like bumping into a go cart at Boomers. After exiting the plane, I realized that my phone was missing from my bag, moment of panic! A clerk at an office nearby diligently made a few calls to help me recover the phone, which was found three rows up from where I was sitting. Just a testimony about how gracious our landing was! Overall it was a good flight, I can't complain.
My first night in Prague was heavenly! I have never appreciated a bed so much! During our stay, breakfast had become my favorite part of the day; the yogurt with granola and the freshly squeezed orange juice was delicious.
Fast forwarding a bit, I had a decent tournament: won three rounds of qualifying, and had a good win in the first round of main draw. However, I was bummed to have lost my second round match. No need for despair because I will continue to work harder and get better. Next challenge is Roland Garros qualifying.
Before leaving Prague, my mom, my coach and I went to "old town" to do some sightseeing. We also visited the famous castle. The view from there, overlooking the city, was mesmerizing. I had an amazing time and ate too much ice cream...
The City Of Light
Bonjouuuuuur Paris! This place holds a special place in my heart. Love the culture, and of course speaking French. I had a great time last I was here, in 2011 for the juniors. I was really looking forward to being back. There is nothing quite like playing on the red clay at Roland Garros.
Since we've arrived though, the weather has been really cloudy and rainy. The forecast for the next few days (was or is) not encouraging either...
Welcome to Europe!
Had a rough first day. I was very disappointed that I didn't do as well as I would have wanted. One of the hardest things about this sport is managing the highs and lows. I was a bit in the slumps, didn't feel like leaving bed for a couple of days. Torrents of thoughts were going through my mind, what went wrong, was I too nervous, did I get outplayed or could I have played better? I just wanted to go back in time and try again.
Having my mom around is really a blessing. She helped me snap out of the foggy mood I was in. After finally clearing my head, my mom and I spent the day walking the Champ Elysees to relax. Before I get into that, I must say that the amount of baguettes I consumed is not recommended and should be illegal. I have a weakness for French bread... Any who, I can't get enough of the beautiful Ancient Roman architecture. My favorite monument in Paris might be the Eiffel Tower but The Arc de Triomphe is a close second. The most interesting thing that happened all day was getting dolled up by a make-up artist at the MAC store. I hardly ever wear make-up but my mom was on a mission, she would not let me back out of it. I could hardly recognize myself when I looked in the mirror! As weird as I felt at first, I couldn't deny the fact that the make-up looked really good on me. Can't promise my mom when or where I'll try it again though.
We then had a "glace" at Haagen Dazs. I had rum raisin and mom had mango. Just like bread, I have a hard time resisting ice cream.
I love getting acquainted to different cultures and foods. So far, I am really enjoying my journey. In the future, I can see myself spending more and more time here in Europe. My next stop is Marseille then preparation for Wimbledon! :)