It's been a long time since anyone has seen CiCi Bellis, but the former world No. 35 will be on court in Houston next week. Bellis has been awarded a wild card for qualifying into the Oracle Challenger Series in Houston.
Main draw wild cards include CoCo Vandeweghe, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Danielle Collins, University of Georgia standout Katarina Jokic and Rice University juniors Sumit Sarkar and Linda Huang.
???? Houston Wild Cards announced ????— Oracle Challenger Series (@OracleChallngrs) November 5, 2019
- @CoCoVandey ????????
- Danielle Collins ????????
- @matteksands ????????
- @cicibellis ????????
Full story —> https://t.co/mxsZ8uDqnd pic.twitter.com/1Rh3bBlcNN
Bellis hasn't competed since Miami in March 2018, when she stepped away with a right wrist pain. She'd go through multiple painful starts and stops before finally fixing the problem.
The 20-year-old has undergone four operations on her wrist and elbow, with one extreme procedure breaking her bone to shorten it and putting in a plate (which would then have be removed).
"Each one I was like, no, I'm not doing the surgery. I’m done with tennis. I'm not going to do this," she told the TENNIS.com Podcast earlier this year. "I'm not going to put my body through this anymore. It’s just not worth it... But I ended up doing it. My gut told me to do it and fix it and try to come back."
Hi everyone! I wanted to give you a quick update on my recovery. After a surgery on my wrist and elbow last summer, I had to go back for yet another surgery on my wrist in November. I am very happy that this third surgery went well. I am getting closer to being healed, healthy and able to take the court again. Thank you all so much for the nice messages during what has been a long and difficult year. Your support has meant the world to me!
She was ranked No. 44 before her 19-month injury hiatus. Now she'll have a protected ranking to help her regain her footing, and wild cards like the one for Houston will help. Play at the WTA 125K Series begins on Sunday (along with an ATP Challenger).
Listen to Bellis' full injury saga on the TENNIS.com Podcast: