“Each one I was like, no, I’m not doing the surgery. I’m done with tennis. I’m not going to do this. I’m not going to put my body through this anymore. It’s just not worth it… But I ended up doing it. My gut told me to do it and fix it and try to come back.”
This week’s TENNIS.com Podcast features special guest CiCi Bellis alongside co-hosts Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi. The 20-year-old American has been off the tour since March 2018 with right wrist and elbow injuries. She’s undergone four surgeries, but despite all she’s been through—including a surgery that shortened the bone in her arm—she’s planning to be back this year, maybe even in time for the US Open.
At 15, Bellis burst onto the scene at the 2014 US Open with an upset of Dominika Cibulkova. She forwent a scholarship at Stanford to turn pro, and earned WTA Newcomer of the Year in 2017 after reaching a career-high ranking of No. 35.
Her long injury hiatus has given her new perspective on life, and allowed her to spend more time with family, friends and her boyfriend, University of Florida Gator Sam Riffice. She’s also started working toward her college degree online with Indiana University East.