Heldman winning the 1969 Italian Open
|Country (sports)||United States|
|Residence||Santa Monica, California|
|Born||December 8, 1945|
Berkeley, California, USA; parents Julius and Gladys Heldman
|Height||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|Highest ranking||No. 5 (1969 and 1974)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|Australian Open||SF (1974)|
|French Open||SF (1970)|
|US Open||SF (1974)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|Australian Open||SF (1974)|
|Wimbledon||QF (1969, 1974)|
|US Open||QF (1968, 1969)|
Julie Heldman (born December 8, 1945) is a retired American tennis player who won 22 women's singles titles. In 1969 and 1974, she was ranked World No. 5, her highest career ranking. In 1968 and 1969, she was ranked No. 2 in the U.S. She was Canadian National 18 and Under Singles Champion at age 12, U.S. Champion in Girls' 15 Singles and Girls' 18 Singles, Italian Open Singles Champion, Canadian Singles and Doubles Champion, and U.S. Clay Court Doubles Champion. She won three medals at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, and three gold medals at the 1969 Maccabiah Games.
In 2018, Heldman published a memoir, Driven, A Daughter's Odyssey. The book offers insights into the history of women's tennis in the mid-20th century, including an insider's account of the birth of the tour. Heldman reveals her struggles with the trauma of her mother's emotional abuse and with bipolar disorder.
Heldman was born in Berkeley, California, the daughter of Julius and Gladys Heldman. Julius was the 1936 National Junior Champion. He was a scientist and a leading amateur player, and Gladys Heldman was the founder, editor, and publisher of World Tennis magazine and the founder of the women's pro tour in 1970. Heldman is Jewish. Her older sister, Carrie, was also a competitive tennis player.
Heldman received her Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University in 1966, and her Juris Doctor from UCLA Law School in 1981, where she was a UCLA Law Review editor and was Law School Graduate of the Year, as well as UCLA Graduate Woman of the Year.
Heldman started playing tennis when she was eight, and won her first national title (the Canadian 18 and under singles) at age 12, in 1957. She won the US National Girls 15 & under singles title in 1960 and the US National Girls 18 and under title in 1963.
In 1965, Heldman reached the Italian championships semi-finals, won the Canadian National women's singles title, and was the finalist in the US National Clay Courts.
In 1968, Heldman won a gold, a silver, and a bronze medal at the Mexico City Olympic Games when tennis was a demonstration sport  Also in 1968, she won the South American mixed doubles with partner Herb Fitzgibbon.
She also won doubles title at the US Women's Clay Court Championships and at the Canadian Open in 1974.
She was one of the Original 9, which was a group of female tennis players who joined the Virginia Slims Circuit, even with the risk of suspension for doing so. The Virginia Slims Circuit eventually led to the creation of the WTA Tour.
In 1970, Heldman's mother, Gladys, established the women's pro tour at the suggestion of Larry King and the sponsorship of Joe Cullman and Virginia Slims. She ran the tour for its first three years. Julie Heldman was one of the Original 9 players who competed in the Houston event, and she played on the tour until she retired in 1975.
Heldman played on the US Federation Cup teams that captured the world team championship in 1966 and 1969. She also played on the U.S. Federation Cup teams in 1970, 1974, and 1975. She was the captain of the team in 1975. Her career win-loss record in Federation Cup competition was 21-9.
Heldman was inducted into the:
After Heldman ended her playing career, she worked as a television color commentator and journalist, with CBS, NBC, PBS, and HBO at the US Open and Wimbledon, 1973-1978. She published articles about tennis in various magazines, including World Tennis and Seventeen. She was the first woman to cover a men's tennis event (the 1976 Avis Challenge Cup).
In 1981, Heldman married Bernie Weiss, and their daughter Amy was born in 1987. In 1985, Heldman became president and co-chair of Signature Eyewear. Heldman retired in 2000 because she suffered a breakdown that lasted nearly 15 years.
Heldman's memoir Driven, A Daughter's Odyssey was published in August 2018. She writes "the book became a mainstay of my existence. It has profoundly contributed to my well being." The book has been praised by former players and critics alike. Tennis historian Steve Flink called it "mandatory reading."Chris Evert called it a "must read."
|Tier IV & V||0|
|Loss||1.||Oct 1968||Mexico City Olympics (Exhibition), Mexico||Clay||Peaches Bartkowicz||3-6, 2-6|
|Tier IV & V||1|
|Loss||1.||Oct 1968||Mexico City Olympics (Demonstration), Mexico||Clay||Rosy Darmon|| Edda Buding
|Win||2.||Oct 1968||Mexico City Olympics (Exhibition), Mexico||Clay||Rosy Darmon|| Peaches Bartkowicz