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CiCi Bellis blog: There's Always a Silver Lining

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February 1, 2017 01:38 PM

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. 72 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. Check back every Wednesday to read more from the rising young star!

A lot of great things have happened since my last blog during the US Open. Not only did I sign with IMG and turn pro, but I had a great end to my 2016 year, winning three straight titles (including my first WTA 125k). My ranking is now inside the Top 75, which is a good place for me to be when I turn 18 this April and am no longer limited by the WTA in the number of tournaments I can play each year.

Unfortunately, 2017 has not exactly started the way I imagined it would. The plan was Sydney, the Australian Open and Taipei. I didn't get to any of these events due to a hamstring strain that lasted longer than expected.

The injury was a bummer because my pre-season with the USTA in Boca Raton had started so well. My coach, Anibal Aranda, and I had a long list of things we were determined to improve but with only a short amount of time to make the necessary improvements. Because of Hawaii, I finished my 2016 season at the end of November, which left Anibal and I less than four weeks to work before Sydney.

The second week of pre-season, I got very low for a shot during an afternoon match and felt a slight pain in my hamstring. I was tired from all of the on- and off-court training and didn't give the pain much consideration because everything hurt. I continued training the rest of the week, and by the following Monday, I could not move.

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Four weeks of drilling without movement and three missed tournaments later, I can finally see at least a trio of silver linings to this injury.

  1. I wanted to put all of my energy into both parts (tennis and fitness) at the same time during pre-season, and now realize what I was trying to do was too much for my body. Something was bound to give, and it did. Slow and steady wins the race. I will definitely know better next year.
     
  2. Patience is not my strongest virtue and because of this, the injury probably took a little longer to heal than necessary. There were a few minor setbacks because at times I just couldn't handle another day of training without movement. When I finally stopped pushing it and just appreciated being able to do something – anything – on court, I healed pretty quickly. I also used the time to work on strengthening other parts of my body and game.
     
  3. I started training at the new “Home of American Tennis” at the USTA National Campus in Orlando about six weeks before I had planned to. The place is amazing in every way. I love it and feel so lucky to be an American tennis player. Ed Ryan (pictured with me above) and his team of physios were key to my healing. I'm so grateful for them.

I will be blogging next week from Doha, where I'll finally be starting my year. Can't wait.

CiCi

 

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