NEW YORK (AP) — For CiCi Bellis, the media storm is over, and that’s just fine with her.
A week after the 15-year-old Californian became the darling of the U.S. Open for pulling a massive upset, she was in a small room Tuesday surrounded by a handful of reporters asking about her second-round loss — in the junior draw.
“I didn’t play as well as I wanted to, but that’s tennis,” she said. “I just have to move on.”
Bellis’ victory over Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova gave her made-in-a-minute stardom, a runaway Twitter feed and reporters from around the world calling her the future of American tennis. Her loss in the second round to 48th-ranked Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan, along with her latest loss as the top-seeded girl, brought her back to reality.
Was it all too exhausting?
“Yeah, for sure, definitely,” she said, still smiling under her sweat-stained visor. “But it’s kind of the price you pay when you do well.”
The home-schooled youngster, whose favorite subject is Algebra II, says she loved her U.S. Open experience but now just wants to go home and relax. “Just forget about it and move on,” she said.
Her biggest lesson from her media crush?
“With all the craziness, my coach and my parents have been telling me, when you finish, just get everything done and just go right away,” she said. “It will just really exhaust you if you stay here too late.”
With that, she was gone.
— By James Martinez — www.twitter.com/jfmartinez
STRUCK BY SIMON: At least Gilles Simon sometimes apologizes when he hits a ball kid.
Before his fourth-round match against Marin Cilic at the U.S. Open on Tuesday, the Frenchman followed through on a practice serve, and then looked on in horror as it hit a ball girl in the face.
When she later sat down in a changeover chair to apply ice to her eye, Simon gave her a supportive kiss on the top of her cap.
Somewhere, Sloane Stephens must have been wondering: Where did this sensitivity come from? See, at Wimbledon two years ago, the American rising star shared a story involving Simon when Stephens was a ball girl herself.
“He hit me with a ball the first time I was a ball kid,” Stephens recalled. “He hit me in the chest, because he lost a point and lost the set. He turned around and slammed the ball with his racket and hit me.”
She said he didn’t apologize — and she still held a grudge.
Simon was far more contrite this time around. The 26th-seeded Frenchman went on to lose to the 14th-seeded Cilic in five sets.
— By Rachel Cohen — www.twitter.com/RachelCohenAP
U.S. Open Scene follows tennis’ hard-court Grand Slam tournament in New York as seen by journalists from The Associated Press. It will be updated throughout the day.
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