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CiCi Bellis blog: The perfect team, plus

February 8, 2017 11:45 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 No. 73 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 the important role her team plays in her daily life. Check back every Wednesday to read more from the rising young star!

By CiCi Bellis

I've spoken a lot about my coach, Anibal Aranda, in my past blogs but thought it would be interesting for people to learn just how many people play a role in my day-to-day life as a tennis pro. Last Thursday, I had my semi-annual meeting with my entire team to discus goals, progress, schedules, etc., and before it was over, my agent, Marijn Bal, superbly summed up my feelings by saying, "CiCi, you've got the perfect team."

Bellis-blog2I wouldn't be where I am today without my parents. Most tennis players have a mom and/or dad who sacrifice everything for their tennis. My parents are no exception. I have been lucky in that I am an only child, and both of them can travel and live with me wherever I need to be. They completely trust Anibal and everyone on my team. Because of this, they have been able to step away from my tennis this past year and can now just be parents. Their endless efforts behind the scenes allow me the ability to put all of my energy and focus into training.

My Coaching

In addition to Anibal, I have so many great coaches that come to my court each day to offer ideas and encouragement. Ola Malmqvist, Jorge Todero and Richard Ashby are all courtside regulars giving me invaluable input.

My Strength and Conditioning Coaches

Satoshi Ochi is my head strength and conditioning coach. He puts together my fitness plan each week, and he and his assistant, Jen Fallon, implement it twice daily. They also provide me with detailed instructions for the road.

My Physios

Former Olympic head trainer Ed Ryan and his phenom team are as good as they get. They not only offer their expertise, but they are calming. They've seen every injury there is to see in multiple sports. I'm with them at the end of each day.

My Agent

Marijn Bal from IMG has essentially been my agent since I was 11. He contacted my father after watching me play the final of the girls' 12s Orange Bowl and stayed in touch regularly until I turned pro last September. He manages my endorsements and the business side of things. He is so easy to work with and never stops believing in me.

My Mentor

The USTA started a mentoring program a few years back that pairs top junior players with former professionals. I felt like I had won the lottery when I was told that my mentor would be Chris Evert. She has been amazing. She attends my practices, works with Anibal to make sure everything we are doing is on point and sends me constant words of encouragement. She excels at staying positive and putting everything into perspective.  


Anibal and I like to mix things up. When I have a three-week training block or multiple weeks on the road, we always bring in different hitting partners to keep things fresh and fun. We have four plus people we use across the United States and couldn't get through a long year without them. When I was in Boca, it was Martin Stringari from Evert Academy. In California, it's always Conor Berg – someone I've practiced with since I was 13. In Orlando, Johnny Parks has been the best. On the road, I love bringing in Sasha Gamzatov from the USTA in New York. He was the pro hitting partner at the US Open this past year, and we work very well together. I also enjoy traveling with Tom Gutteridge from HPTA in Philadelphia. Tom and I worked together for more than a year, and I've had some of my best results with him.

It definitely takes a village.
Gotta go. Just arrived in Doha.


RELATED: CiCi Bellis blog No. 1: There's Always a Silver Lining