Childhood & Early Life
CiCi Bellis was born Catherine Cartan Bellis, in San Francisco, California, on April 8, 1999. Her father, Gordon, worked as an equity-fund agent, and her mother, Lori, was a tennis player in her younger days. Inspired by Lori’s love for tennis, CiCi started gaining a keen interest in the sport. The mother-daughter duo would often watch matches at their local clubs.
CiCi picked up a tennis racket for the first time when she was four years old, but she never quite wanted to build a career in the sport. She was good in academics and her mother wanted to keep it that way. However, after Bellis turned 11, she became increasingly attracted toward a career in tennis. The family’s financial condition allowed CiCi to be trained by the best coaches, and she eventually rose to become a young tennis star.
CiCi was home-schooled since sixth grade, to help her manager her studies with the sport.
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CiCi became active in the sport as soon as she entered her teenage years. Initially, she focused on the junior tennis scene in the US. She ended up winning five ‘USTA National Junior Singles Championships’ and also attained the top rank in the ‘US G18s’ in 2014.
At the age of 15, she won the ‘USTA Girls’ 18s National Championship,’ defeating Tornado Alicia Black in straight sets. This victory not only earned her a wild-card entry into the 2014 ‘US Open’ but also made her the youngest player to win the ‘USTA National Championship,’ since Lindsay Davenport’s win in 1991.
By the end of the year, she was named the 2014 ‘ITF Junior World Champion’ and ended the year with the top rank in the girls’ junior rankings. Having played only 13 professional matches prior to this feat, she excelled in the 2014 ‘US Open’ with a remarkable win over Dominika Cibulkova, a player ranked much higher than her.
Soon, she became the youngest-ever girl to have scored a win in the ‘US Open’ since Anna Kournikova, the former top-ranked tennis player. However, she could not continue her winning streak in the tournament, and lost her next match to Zarina Diyas. In 2015, she avenged her ‘US Open’ defeat by winning a match against Zarina in the ‘WTA Premier Mandatory Tournament’ in 2015. She reached the third round, where she lost to Serena Williams, who also ended up winning the tournament later.
She made her next wild-card entry in the 2016 ‘Bank of the West Classic Premier Tournament,’ which was the first international tournament where she entered the quarterfinals. On the road to the semifinals, she lost to top-ranked Venus Williams. However, CiCi’s remarkable performance managed to impress many. She was yet to be 18 and was already scoring wins over players much above her in both rank and experience.
Later, she also entered the main draw of the 2016 ‘US Open,’ where she repeated her stunning performance that she had displayed in the previous ‘US Open’ and entered the third round. She eventually lost to Angelique Kerber in straight sets in the third round, Kerber later emerged as the winner of the tournament.
Following the 2016 ‘US Open,’ Bellis turned into a professional player and participated in her first major tournament as a professional in the ‘Coupe Banque Nationale,’ where she was defeated in the quarterfinals. However, the year ended with her winning three tournaments. Following those three victories, she entered the top 100 in the women’s singles rankings for the first time in her career. She was then the youngest player to have achieved that feat.
Later that year, she won the ‘Hawaii Tennis Open’ in Honolulu, which was her 14th consecutive win. In the finals, she defeated world number 23, Zhang Shuai. CiCi ended the year by being ranked 75th. The next year, she managed to enter the top 50.
The beginning of 2017 was not good for her as she suffered a hamstring injury. She missed some tournaments in Australia, which she had a great chance of winning, and started her season with the ‘Qatar Open’ in February. There, she lost to Zheng Saisai in the second round.
The ‘Dubai Championships’ followed, and she was part of the main draw. Bellis performed amazingly well and entered the third round after she defeated much higher-ranked players. The third-round victory was a major one as she won it against former world number 2 and former Dubai Championship-winner Agnieszka Radwanska.
This win was huge for CiCi in many ways, as it was her first entry into the quarterfinals of any ‘Premier 5’ tournament. In the quarterfinals, she lost to former number 1 Caroline Wozniacki, but the loss was not that bad, as she ended the tournament with the 56th rank. She presently ranks at the 41st place in the singles rankings.
CiCi Bellis has all her attention focused on tennis, and she does not plan to go to college. She was home-schooled since she was 12 years old. Regarding her decision of not going to college, she states that she considers college as her “plan B” and that she cannot imagine herself doing anything else apart from playing tennis.
She is an outgoing person and loves to hang out with friends in her spare time. Other than tennis, she enjoys swimming and has a pool and a tennis court at her Atherton residence in California, where she lives with her family.
CiCi is very open about her private life. She recently tweeted about having a boyfriend, which became quite some news for the entertainment media.