Former World No.35 CiCi Bellis chronicled her injury struggles of the past year in a candid Instagram post at Behind the Racquet.
WTA Staff
April 8, 2019

In the 13 months since American Catherine Bellis last played a WTA match, the former WTA Newcomer of the Year has been plagued by a career-threatening injury. 

The American, who tuns 20 today, opened up on her recent ordeal in a candid social media post, on the Instagram account "Behind the Racquet."

The initiative, started by American ATP player Noah Rubin, aims to offer a unique look at the perspecitve of touring tennis players

In the post, Bellis' opens up on four surgeries she's had since reaching a career-high ranking of World No.35 back in 2017, the year she was awarded the tour's top newcomer award.

However, elbow problems and wrist surguries were just the start of the former teenage prodigy's struggles, which she articulates in detail in the post.

Most recently, just this spring, Bellis needed a metal plate, put in her arm for corrective reasons, removed to further set back her return to the courts.

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“During a tournament in Mexico two years ago, after playing against this big hitter, both my arms were sore for about four days. I thought it was normal and something I had to deal with. Everyone just diagnosed it as tendonitis. After getting through the clay and grass with pain doctors prescribed anti-inflammatories, which did help. I went off them, just before Asia, when I thought I was on these pills for too long. I took about 2-3 weeks off during preseason and then did some strengthening. I was at my career high ranking and wanted to continue the momentum. I went into 2017 playing Doha and Dubai. During Dubai I literally felt my elbow crack. It was now Indian Wells and the discomfort in my wrist and elbow was at an all time high. I was fed up with unqualified doctors and went to the Mayo Clinic to get the highest quality MRI. This doctor found three tears in my wrist and that one of the bones in my wrist was too long which caused the tears and impaction. The first surgery ended up solely repairing the tears, as he did not see the original impaction anymore. Shortly after healing my elbow started killing. A doctor examined it and found that two bone spurs hit each other every time I straightened my elbow, and the main one was fractured. This was the crack I felt in Dubai. The bone needed to be shaven down. It was a simple surgery and I got back to playing, but it wasn’t over. Pain returned in my wrist from ‘one of the worst impactions ever’. The doctor apologized for not doing the surgery earlier but now it was a must. They basically cut my bone in half, shortened it, and then put a plate in. This took some real time before I started hitting, but once I got to the baseline something was wrong. I received this swelling on my arm every time I played. We figured out the plate in my arm was too big, causing inflammation and aggravation. I got the plate out last Monday and that’s where I am now. The hardest things have been hitting and getting close to normality and then just being totally set back. There is no way I can do this anymore, but tennis is everything to me. I wouldn’t have done this if I didn’t love this sport.”

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"The hardest things have been hitting and getting close to normality and then just being totally set back," she writes.

"Tennis is everything to me. I wouldn’t have done this if I didn’t love this sport.”

Bellis has been out of action since last year's Miami Open, where she lost in the first round to Victoria Azarenka.

In her WTA main draw debut at age 15 in 2014, Bellis upset No.12 seed Dominika Cibulkova who was the runner-up at the Australian Open earlier in the year, and became the youngest player to win a match at the US Open since Anna Kournikova reached the fourth round of the 1996 event.

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