“I cried the whole entire match. And I just kind of thought I was going to die, to me cancer meant death,” Duval, now 19, told ABC News.
The rising star of the Women’s Tennis Association left the court behind to begin chemotherapy.
“That was definitely the lowest point of my life,” the Miami native said.
Duval spent three months in treatment and many other months trying to rebuild her strength. She got through the worst of it by repeating the mantra “I’m not sick. I’m not sick.” Support from her fellow players -– including tennis stars Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic -- helped her stay positive.
Today, Duval is cancer free and lives life to the fullest. On Instagram, she has posted videos of herself dancing, joking and laughing.
“It seems like nothing can really get me down, no matter what,” she said.
After a punishing 14 months away from the game, Duval is thriving and back at the US Open, where she’ll compete in the mixed doubles.
"This is what I worked for," she said. "It just feels so good to be back."