New Orleans's Linda Tuero was a collegiate and professional tennis champion in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Linda Tuero was a collegiate and professional tennis champion of the late 1960s and early 1970s. While attending Tulane University, she won the US Amateur Championship in 1969 and 1970 and the US Open Clay Court Championship in 1970. Tuero was the first female to be awarded an athletic scholarship to Tulane and became the first woman to play a varsity sport and earn a varsity letter there.
Tuero was born on October 21, 1950, in New Orleans. Her interest in tennis began at age eleven, when she became a student of Emmett Pare, the legendary tennis coach at Tulane University. He gave her private lessons at the New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club, and Tuero won six national titles in singles and doubles by the time she graduated from high school. After winning nine amateur titles, she graduated from Tulane University cum laude in 1971 with a bachelor of science degree in psychology and immediately joined the professional tennis tour.
In 1972, her first year on the tour, she defeated Olga Morozova of Russia in straight sets to win the Italian Open; she won the Madrid Melia Open and the Province of South Africa Women’s singles later that year. She won back-to-back Wightman Cup titles in 1972 and 1973.
As a singles player, Tuero reached the third round of the US Open in 1968 and 1971 as well as the third round at Wimbledon in 1971. She also reached the quarterfinals of the French Open in 1971, but she lost to Billie Jean King in the finals of the US Open Clay Courts that year. As a doubles player, she reached the quarterfinals in the US Open and the third round of the French Open in 1969 as well as the second round of Wimbledon in 1972. Tuero was inducted into the Tulane Hall of Fame in 1971, the Louisiana Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985, and the US Tennis Association (USTA) Southern Tennis Hall of Fame in 1995.
In 1972, Tuero was the number-ten ranked women’s player in the world. In 1973, she appeared as an extra in the movie The Exorcist and met author William Peter Blatty on the movie set. The couple married, and Tuero abruptly retired from tennis. The two later divorced. In 2000 Tuero returned to Tulane University to pursue a graduate degree, and she graduated with a master’s degree in anthropology, with a specialty in paleontology, in 2004. She and her current husband now make their home in Sea Island, Georgia.