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CiCi Bellis blog: Opportunity preparedness

February 23, 2017 07:00 AM

CiCi Bellis turned pro last September after reaching the third round of the 2016 US Open. The 17-year-old California native first gained national attention in 2014, when, at the age of 14, she upset No. 12 seed and reigning Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of the US Open for her first Grand Slam win. Since then, the 2014 ITF Junior World Champion won her first WTA title at the $125,000 Hawaii Open in Honolulu in November 2016 and has claimed six singles and two doubles titles on the ITF Circuit. Bellis, who is currently ranked a career-high No. 70 in the WTA rankings, wrote a popular blog on USOpen.org during last year's tournament and picks up her blogging on USTA.com now. In this entry, she talks about competing in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, the importance of being prepared and more. Check back each week to read more from the rising young star!

By CiCi Bellis

Anibal, Tom and I arrived in Dubai early last Tuesday morning and went straight to the site to practice. I was disappointed about Doha, but Anibal convinced me that there was a silver lining to the tournament – I would now have plenty of time to get ready for the qualifying event in Dubai.

After three, full days of hard work, I got the surprising news that I had moved into the main draw. I had been given a slight opportunity, and I knew my thorough preparation would allow me to take advantage of it.


I had a coach when I was little who used to say at the start of every practice, “CiCi, when opportunity strikes, you had better be ready. So, let’s start preparing.” I took that to heart because I have never in my life gone to a tennis tournament (or anything for that matter) in doubt of my preparation. I don’t always win or play my best tennis because that's just life, but I’m always prepared.

I would give preparation as the reason for 90 percent of my success the past 10 years. I think it's safe to say I was not the best player in a few of the tournaments I have won over the years. But, because of my training, the stars have aligned (or the draws have opened up) for me on countless occasions. And, when those draws opened up, I was always ready to take advantage.

I am happy to report that I am in the third round in Dubai.  Can’t wait to play tomorrow night.


P.S. I am loving Dubai. I thought Doha was nice, but this is the most unreal place I have ever been. There is so much to see and do. I am planning to stay on an extra day at the end of the tournament to make sure I getting everything in.