Tennis and Survival

When she lived in Texas, Diane Maund and her friends were trying to decide on a sport to take up. They didn’t overcomplicate things.

“It was between golf and tennis,” she said. “We decided tennis clothes were cuter. So that was it.”

More than a decade later, Maund has tennis to thank for developing one of her biggest support groups — a group she’s leaned on quite a bit in the last few years.

Maund, who now lives in Pennsylvania but also plays tennis in Delaware, recently recovered from surgery to remove a massive brain tumor. She’s now back to playing tennis, enjoying every moment on the court. She’s also sharing her experience with others, hoping her positivity can be a boost for someone going through a difficult time.

“People are more vocal about the struggles than about the success stories,” she said. “I think often when people are having trouble they will reach out for support but those who recover successfully tend to want to get back to life as normal, so you may not always hear the positive even though it’s out there.”

One of Maund’s first clues of her health battle came in 2013 — of all places — on the tennis court.

“I was having a hard time seeing out of my left eye, and I was noticing it in tennis,” she said. “I couldn’t poach balls anymore. A ball would zip by me and I would look at my partner and say, ‘I don’t know why I didn’t hit that.’”

Eventually, Maund decided it was time to go to the doctor’s office. What she learned was astonishing.

“The doctor said I had a massive brain tumor,” she said. “It was the size of a tennis ball. I joked with my friends that I played so much tennis that a ball grew in my head.”

“People told me I was a good player because I never got worked up about anything. But it turns out that was because I had no frontal lobe working,” she joked.

Doctors used a six-hour surgery to attack the tumor. After 52 staples and a rough few months, her recovery began to improve.

“I started feeling better. My recovery definitely came along,” she said.

This year, Maund spent most of her time on the court with her Delaware-based Tri-Level team. She and her teammates advanced through district and section championships and eventually advanced to nationals.

“Honestly, I couldn’t believe I came back and could still play like that,” she said. “It wasn’t that long ago that I was having a hard time walking in a straight line.

“We had a long journey through the season with lots of crazy matches and unlikely things happening. It was totally meant to be. It was magical.”

Maund, who speaks often of her tennis friends from Texas, is happy to be back on the court, and is enjoying each moment. She looks at Tri-Level as an opportunity to meet new people and compete as a group.

“People who would never play together get to play together,” she said. “It’s really neat. You get some great players, and some beginner players. It’s fun.”

“I’ve always just loved tennis,” she said. “I played a lot of sports earlier in my life but always gave them up. In tennis, I kept with it. I love that there are similarities between tennis and things that you go through in life. I love that you’re never out of it. You can always develop new shots. You can always fight.”



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