Fresh off her run to the third round of the US Open, Catherine Bellis announced plans to turn professional. The former junior No.1 tweeted the news on Tuesday after her first round win over Amandine Hesse at the Coupe Banque Nationale.
"I think it was really just my whole summer, the WTA tournaments I played in, and obviously the US Open was a big thing for me," Bellis told WTA Insider. "I just think I'm really confident in my tennis and confident that I'm able to compete at the WTA level consistently now.
I'm excited to announce that I have turned pro, and signed with @IMG Thank you to everyone for all your continued support! Let's go??
Bellis had previously announced her committment to play college tennis at Stanford University, but has been tagged as one to watch since she was 14 years old.
"I think I can always go to college after my tennis I think I can still go to college afterwards, so it wasn't a big deal for me giving it up now because I can always go later. Also I love tennis so much. I want to be doing it for a really long time and I think my game and my body is ready for it now."
She first broke onto the scene in 2014 when she became the youngest woman to win a match at the US Open since 1996, upsetting Dominika Cibulkova to reach the second round. The 17-year-old has since played the likes of Serena Williams at the Miami Open and Venus Williams at the Bank of the West Classic. Check out an interview with Bellis during that Stanford run on the WTA Insider Podcast:
"A couple of years ago when I had that US Open run, even in the last couple of years I've worked on my fitness and my strength so much, just for that reason, so I could compete consistently. I'm not getting tired in these tournaments anymore, I'm not getting tired during matches, so it's great.
"I think I'm pretty much done growing and the huge fitness kick has helped me a lot."
At this year's US Open, Bellis qualified for the main draw and reached the third round at a major tournament for the first time in her career. After defeating Vikotrija Golubic and Shelby Rogers en route, she fell to eventual champion Angelique Kerber under the lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"I think next year it will really start to change the most because the age restriction rule will be gone for me. That will be the biggest change. But I think the next couple of months, depending on how Québec City goes, I'll probably go back to Boca and train a little bit and then play a couple of Pro Cicuits, though I'm not sure about that yet, and then I'm playing a 125K in Hawaii in November."
Signing with IMG, Bellis is ranked just outside the Top 100 and will play qualifier Danielle Lao for a spot in the quarterfinals in Québec on Wednesday.
? IMG Tennis (@IMGTennis) September 13, 2016