NEW YORK (Reuters) - Victoria Duval is growing in more than just stature.
The animated 17-year-old American bowed out of the U.S. Open with a 6-2 6-3 loss to Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova on Thursday before revealing she was likely to become one of the tallest player on the women’s tour.
“I know I have a lot of room to grow,” the 5-feet 9-inches Duval said. “I’m still growing right now. My growth plates are still open.
“I’m not sure how that’s happening. But I think once my body settles in, I’ll be able to work a little more on my fitness. I haven’t really been able to because of injuries and growing.
“One doctor told me I will be at least six feet. My grandmother was six-four.”
Duval’s romance with the U.S. Open ended quickly but the Atlanta-based teenager was inspired by becoming a role model during her whirlwind 48 hours at Flushing Meadows.
Feted as the new darling of American tennis following her opening-round triumph, Duval was unable to replicate the blistering form that disposed of former Open champion Sam Stosur when she was handed a reality check by Hantuchova in one hour and 12 minutes.
“It was overwhelming,” she said of the media attention.
“Obviously winning my first round was quite an achievement. I’m just really proud that I’ve been able to give myself a good image on the court, and off the court.
“I was touched by all the little kids that came up to me and told me I’m their role model. I think for a 17-year-old, that’s pretty cool.”
Duval admitted to feeling restricted against Hantuchova in front of a boisterous crowd on Court 17.
“I don’t think I ever felt free in the match today,” she said.
“I don’t think it had to do with the score or anything. She hits really hard and I couldn’t really get myself going. I just never felt comfortable.
“I missed a could of really close shots when I had opportunities. A couple of shots make the difference in matches ... and I don’t really have an easy time playing in the dark with my glasses.”
Despite new-found confidence from beating Stosur, Duval said she would keep her ambitions realistic, aiming to raise her ranking from 296 to the top 150 by the end of the year.
“I’m not going to go above and beyond myself,” he said.
“I’m going to set reasonable goals. This was just another tournament, but I’ve had a great experience.”
Editing by Julian Linden