Cici Bellis and Gabriela Dabrowski work towards college degree during the shutdown



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Cici Bellis and Gabriela Dabrowski work towards college degree during the shutdown

American youngster CiCi Bellis and Canada's gabriela Dabrowski are using the downtime in the tennis circuit to complete their education.

Cici Bellis and Gabriela Dabrowski on working towards their college degree

The 21 year old Bellis has been working on her college degree for the past couple of years as she has been dealing with injuries and with the tour going into shutdown, she is using more of her time towards her education.

Bellis is working on her degree through a partnership with Indiana University East and the WTA. Speaking to ESPN, Bellis says, "Higher education is extremely important to me. I always want to continue learning and bettering myself.

I think my favorite thing I've studied so far has been accounting -- I'm a huge fan of math and anything involving numbers. The toughest part [normally] about taking classes is definitely juggling it with being a professional tennis player and managing my time to do both the best that I can.

I definitely have been able to dedicate more time to it recently with the tour being suspended." Gabriela Dabrowski, currently ranked in the Top 10 in doubles, is also part of the same program and says the education will help her prepare for life after her retirement from the sport.

"For me, it's just about having the educational background to pursue my passions outside of tennis for when I do retire from the tour. And it's just, basically, also giving me the outlet while I'm playing to focus on other things.

I've always loved to learn and even when I wasn't taking university courses over however many years since I completed high school, I was always reading and watching a lot of 'TED Talks' and YouTube videos.

So it's not like I wasn't learning, but it wasn't like it was going towards a degree. Now I'm like, 'Well, I may as well turn my focus into learning something that will go towards a degree someday.'

And that's something that I can use that after tennis, and it's so amazing to have that opportunity, and to get outside of that tunnel vision about tennis and nothing else. This helps with figuring out a plan for after tennis."

21 year old Cici Bellis has a career-high ranking of No. 35 in the world and was the second youngest player in the top 100 of the WTA rankings. Bellis won a match at the 2014 US Open as a 15 year old against a top-20 opponent, making her the youngest match-winner at the US Open since 1996.

She has won one WTA 125K event, and also won six singles titles and two doubles titles on the ITF Women's Circuit. She ended the 2014 season as the ITF Junior World Champion. 28 year old Gabriela Dabrowski won the 2017 French Open mixed doubles title with Rohan Bopanna, and the 2018 Australian Open mixed doubles title with Mate Pavic.