Julia Sampson Hayward, a world champion tennis player who won two Grand Slam titles in the 1950s, died in her Eastbluff home after a short illness, family members said.
She was 77.
Hayward was born in Los Angles on Feb. 2, 1934, to Alberta and Ralph Sampson. She grew up in San Marino with her sister Edith (Dee Dee) and attended South Pasadena High School and USC.
She won two Grand Slam titles: the 1953 Australian doubles and mixed. She also won 21 national titles and was a finalist in many United States Tennis Assn. and international tournaments, including Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the French Open.
She played with and competed against some of the world’s best players of her generation, including Maureen Connolly, Rex Hartwig, Doris Hart, Sven Davidson and Hamilton Richardson, said her daughter-in-law, Madeline Hayward of Corona del Mar.
“She hung up her racquets for a bit to settle down, marry and start a family,” her family’s obituary states.
In 1958 she married Daniel Hayward and moved to Hastings Ranch in Pasadena, where the couple had three children.
“Julie eventually moved down in Newport Beach, Calif., where she raised her children as a single mom,” according to her family’s obituary. “She dusted off those racquets and then quickly became a mainstay in the tennis community, teaching children and adults at the Newport Beach Tennis Club.
“Countless memories are often recounted of Julie on the court, in the scorching sun, thin, tanned and gorgeous, feeding balls and providing priceless tips to many of our friends in the community. She also enjoyed playing tournaments and continued to win national championships across the nation in several adult USTA tournaments with friends that she surrounded herself with up until her death.”
Beyond tennis, Hayward’s hobbies included taking care of her dogs, gardening, charity work at Meals-on-Wheels at the OASIS Senior Center on Tuesdays and spending time with her friends.
“She loved her friends,” her family wrote. “And they loved her. Anyone who met Julie was amazed by her selfless, ever-humble and sincere interest in others. She was easy to talk to and she loved learning about new people and things.”
She was preceded in death by her parents and sister.
She is survived by her children, Wendy, and son-in law Brian Herbel; Mark Hayward; and Greg and daughter-in-law Madeline Hayward; as well as seven grandchildren, Shelby and Kelley Herbel; Kendall, Julia and Ryan Hayward; and Maddie and Camille Hayward of Corona del Mar.
A private memorial will be held Jan. 5.