Eighteen and smartly beautiful, the average female teenager has a few major decisions to make.

If you break it down to percentages, the largest category would be which college to attend, what used car to buy (maybe brand new depending upon your zip code), work fulltime in the family business or similar.

Few are presented with the options that American tennis super star Catherine Bellis was contemplating.

fciwomenswrestling.com femcompetitor.com article, photo via Twitter

Probably less than one percent.

What were her choices?

Should she continue to go to college or turn professional?

That is one tough decision especially if your university of choice is Stanford. One very tough college to get into.

How hard is it to be accepted at Stanford?

According to collegesimply.com, “These admission statistics provide an indication how difficult it is to get in and what your chances are. 2,140 out of 42,497 applicants or 5% were admitted making Stanford an extremely competitive school to get into with a very low chance of acceptance – even for applicants with the highest scores and grades.  Academically, it has exceptionally high requirements for admission test scores. Of those applicants which were admitted, 80% chose to enroll.”

Catherine, who by the way you can call CiCi since we do, was accepted into Stanford.

What may have been a factor in her decision was the fact that she made over $350,000 in prize money.

Don’t applaud too much. It has been reported she turned down a scholarship.

Hey, life is about the journey, right?

In her place, what would you decide?

Your decision making process could range from should you even consider that option?

To, so you’re serious about making that decision?

Ultimately to, what in the world possessed you to make that decision?

Welcome to CiCi’s world.

fciwomenswrestling.com femcompetitor.com article, Getty Images Fair Media Use via WTA

CiCi has won one singles title on the WTA tour and six singles and two doubles titles on the ITF tour in her career. On August 14, 2017, she reached her best singles ranking of world number 35. On July 17, 2017, she peaked at world number 161 in the doubles rankings.

Our beautiful young American star was ranked the number one junior tennis player in the world in September of 2014, and was declared the 2014 ITF Junior World Champion.

That is one stellar start, wouldn’t you agree?

CiCi had an accomplished junior career in the United States winning five USTA National Junior Singles Championships and was ranked no. 1 in the US G18s in April 2014.

In August of 2014, Ms. Bellis won the USTA Girls 18’s National Championship, defeating Tornado Alicia Black in the final in straight sets. With this victory, she became the youngest winner of the event (at 15 years, 4 months) since Lindsay Davenport in 1991, and also earned a wild card into the main draw of the 2014 US Open.

Now things truly began to become interesting.

In the first round of the 2014 US Open, CiCi, ranked 1208 and playing in only her 13th professional match, upset the 12th seed Dominika Cibulková, the runner-up at the Australian Open earlier in the year, to become the youngest player to win a match at the US Open since Anna Kournikova won at age 15 in 1996.

As you can imagine, the American crowd in New York was beside themselves with joy.

She was the youngest American to win a match at the US Open since Mary Joe Fernández in 1986, the youngest woman in the main draw of a Grand Slam since Alizé Cornet at the 2005 French Open, and the youngest in the main draw of the US Open since 2004.

The foundation of that decision to turn pro is looking even better, true?

In 2017 she truly began to make her move.

fciwomenswrestling.com femcompetitor.com article, By si.robi – Bellis US16 (14), CC BY-SA 2.0, wikimedia

As reported at wtatennis.com, “American 18-year-old Catherine Bellis has been selected as the WTA Newcomer of the Year for 2017.

The results are in, and 18-year-old American Catherine “CiCi” Bellis has been named the WTA Newcomer of the Year for 2017. After finishing 2016 as the youngest player in the Top 100, the American teenager shot up the rankings this season, marking several milestones along the way.”

CiCi became only the third American this century to reach the third round of the French Open before age 19. This marked her first time in the third round of a major other than the US Open. She then upset No.18 seed and 2016 French Open semifinalist Kiki Bertens in the second round before falling in a tough three-setter to Caroline Wozniacki.

Now that is great battle tested company.

Her parents made supreme sacrifices to help propel CiCi.

Born in San Francisco, CiCi spent many years of her youth growing up in Atherton, California.

fciwomenswrestling.com femcompetitor.com article, Coldwell Banker photo credit

Atherton is an incorporated town in San Mateo County.

Its population was 7,159 as of 2013. Atherton is ranked to be the wealthiest city in the United States, and is regularly ranked among the most expensive zip codes in the country.

fciwomenswrestling.com femcompetitor.com article, photo via YouTube

When the U.S.T.A.’s new national tennis center, in Lake Nona, south of Orlando, was about to open, she and her parents relocated to the area.

Admiring CiCi’s 2017 results, ESPN announced in their February 23, 2017 article that CiCi is ready to hang with the top players.

That could be a major challenge.

Her superb talent is very evident. It’s her body that may need to catch up.

fciwomenswrestling.com femcompetitor.com article, photo via Wikimedia

Some comparisons might be in order.

CiCi was listed at 5’ 7’’ and 110 lbs. now up to 120. By comparison, CoCo Vandeweghe is 6’ 1” and 154 lbs. Serena Williams is 5’ 9” and 155 lbs. Fresh faced Madison Keys is 5’ 10” and 146 lbs. and the most recent 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens is 5’ 7” and 134 lbs.

CiCi is not quite there physically but she is aware of her challenge.

Our rising star has already had her share of scoring upsets.

As shared at espn.com, “At the 2014 US Open, the then 15-year-old made headlines by defeating No. 13 Dominika Cibulkova in the first round for her first top-20 win. But that came with an asterisk: Bellis was the youngest player to win a match at US Open since 1996 Anna Kournikova, the poster child for unfulfilled promise. Kournikova — who is today 35, the same age as Williams — famously never won a WTA-level title and was retired by the age of 21 with a variety of back and spinal issues.”

You long time tennis fans remember the promise and unfortunate flame out of the gorgeous blonde Anna Kournikova whose results in the financial column due to endorsements far out shined her results on the courts.

Beautiful and elegant as she is, CiCi clearly has a very different future.

Much of that is due to her and her team’s great decision making.

fciwomenswrestling.com femcompetitor.com article, photo via Instagram

She expressed as much herself in an interview with ESPN. “Long term, I’m trying to be the best player I can be,” Bellis said. “As long as I stay healthy and keep getting better, that will take me pretty far.”

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OPENING PHOTO via  USTA Player Development

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/08/02/cici-bellis-an-incoming-freshman-at-stanford-in-alternate-universe/

http://www.collegesimply.com/colleges/california/stanford-university/admission/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CiCi_Bellis

http://www.wtatennis.com/news/newcomer-year-catherine-bellis

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/08/02/cici-bellis-an-incoming-freshman-at-stanford-in-alternate-universe/

http://nypost.com/2017/08/30/american-darling-cici-bellis-flames-out-at-us-open/

http://www.itftennis.com/procircuit/players/player/profile.aspx?playerid=100217981

http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2017/08/cici-bellis-pleased-decision-forego-college-turn-pro/68229/

https://www.newyorker.com/news/sporting-scene/among-american-tenniss-sudden-wave-of-promising-teen-agers-cici-bellis-stands-out

https://www.si.com/tennis/2017/05/31/french-open-cici-bellis-beats-kiki-bertens

http://www.espn.com/tennis/story/_/id/18743125/tennis-cici-bellis-shows-ready-hang-top-players

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atherton,_California