Linda Gates picked up her first tennis racket at the young age of seven. With her brother taking lessons and playing in tournaments, Gates wanted in on the fun. It turns out she had a knack for it. In fact, in just a few short years she reached the #1 ranking in juniors national doubles and #16 in singles. In Northern California, she reached #1 in the age 16 singles and #1 in age 18 singles and doubles.
Winning was great, but it was the pleasure of hitting a tennis ball that she really loved. Gates expressed, “That’s what drove me: the sheer pleasure of the contact.” Although Gates had full scholarship offers from both UC Berkeley and UCLA, she chose an offer of a partial scholarship to play at her dream school: Stanford.
Under the wing of legendary coach Frank Brennan, Gates’ tennis game flourished. She earned All American status every year during her four years at Stanford. She was an NCAA Doubles and Singles Finalist in 1983, Doubles Champion in 1984 and was eventually crowned NCAA Singles and Doubles Champion in 1985. Gates was also the recipient of the 1985 Broderick Award as National Collegiate Player of the Year. But the award she’s most proud of is the Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship Award, which she received in 1984.
Gates took the pro circuit by storm, advancing to the doubles quarter finals of the Australian Open, claiming singles and doubles titles at the OTD International, reaching the finals in the Japan Open and making it to the round of 32 in singles at the US Open. Unfortunately, a year into her pro career, Gates suffered a career-ending shoulder injury. Gates later offered her expertise as a volunteer assistant coach at Santa Clara from 1990–1997 and at her alma mater, Stanford. In 2001, Gates was inducted into the Stanford University Hall of Fame.
- #16 Ranking in Juniors National Singles (1979)
#1 Ranking in Northern California Age 16 Singles (1979)
#1 Ranking in Northern California Age 18 Singles and Doubles (1971)
#1 Ranking in Juniors National Doubles (1982)
Four-time ITA All-American (1982–1985)
NCAA Doubles and Singles Runner-Up (1983)
NCAA Singles Runner-Up (1984)
Recipient of the ITA Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship Award (1984)
NCAA Doubles Champion (1984, 1985)
Broderick Award as National Player of the Year (1985)
NCAA Singles Champion (1985)
Began Career on Pro Circuit (1985)
Australian Open Doubles Quarter Finalist, with Partner Alycia Moulton (1985)
Singles and Doubles Champion at OTB International Open in New York (1985)
Reached Round of 32 at US Open (1985)
Finalist at Japan Open (1985)
Elected to Stanford University Hall of Fame (2001)