Teenage tennis star CiCi Bellis is one to watch on the courts, from the Main Line all the way to the US Open.
With her sweet smile and all-American looks, at first glance 16-year-old tennis wunderkind CiCi Bellis doesn’t scream intimidation. But then she unleashes her wicked forehand, and all preconceived notions go out the door. Fast. Bellis, a phenom who’s been ranked the number-one junior in the country, is both the youngest player to win a Grand Slam match since Anna Kournikova in 1996 and the ITF Junior World Champion.
Now living and training on the Main Line for part of the year, she made a splash at the 2014 US Open when she faced off against Serena Williams. And although Bellis lost, she says it was the best experience of her life. “About 30 minutes before the match, I saw Serena in the hallway, and I got so nervous,” the native Californian admits.
Tom Gutteridge, an instructor at Bala Cynwyd’s High Performance Tennis Academy, is currently touring the world with her as her coach. “She’s fearless on the court and a gutsy competitor,” he says. And Chris Sanni, director of tennis at The Germantown Cricket Club, agrees. After hitting with her to help ready her for the French Open qualifiers, he claims, “I haven’t seen that kind of power and grace on a court since Gabriela Sabatini in the ’90s. She is the future of female tennis.” And that is a proud heritage for the Main Line.