Ginger Helgeson-Nielsen

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Ginger Helgeson-Nielsen
Country (sports)  United States
Residence Alpine, California, U.S.
Born (1968-09-14) September 14, 1968 (age 49)
St. Cloud, Minnesota, U.S.
Turned pro 1987
Retired 1998
Plays Right-handed
Prize money US$724,792
Career record 183–144
Career titles 1 WTA, 0 ITF
Highest ranking No. 29 (January 2, 1995)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open 4R (1994)
French Open 2R (1993, 1994)
Wimbledon 3R (1994)
US Open 4R (1994)
Career record 98–108
Career titles 0 WTA, 1 ITF
Highest ranking No. 38 (January 9, 1995)

Ginger Helgeson-Nielsen (born September 14, 1968) is a former American women's professional tennis player, who is considered to be perhaps the greatest player to ever come out of Minnesota.[1] She reached her highest singles ranking on January 2, 1995, when she became the No. 29 in the world. In doubles, she reached No. 38 in the world on January 9.

Tennis career[edit]

Helgeson-Nielsen was born in St. Cloud, Minnesota, before moving to Edina after seventh grade. She was coached by her brother, Brace, throughout juniors and high school.[1] She attended Edina High School and became a three-time consecutive Minnesota state singles champion,[2] and was ranked No. 1 by the USTA Northern at all levels.[3]

Helgeson-Nielsen then received a scholarship to attend Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. Whilst there, she was a four-year letter winner and a three-time All American, and holds the all-time best career winning percentage.[3]

She played professionally from 1987, spending her first few years on the ITF Women's Circuit. Her best season was in 1994, winning her first WTA title in Auckland and reaching the fourth round of the Australian and U.S. Opens. At the latter event, she beat reigning Wimbledon champion Conchita Martínez for her biggest career victory.[4] Her ranking hit the top 30 as a result of her breakthrough season. She reached the final of Auckland again in 1995, but a serious wrist injury at a tournament in Amelia Island put her out for the rest of the 1995 season.[4] She returned in March 1996, but wasn't able to make it back into the top 100 in singles. She played her last match at the U.S. Open qualifying tournament in 1998, where she reached the second round.

In addition to her win over Martínez, she also recorded victories over Helena Suková, Mary Joe Fernández, Gigi Fernández, Anke Huber, Lori McNeil, Sabine Appelmans, Sabine Hack and Natasha Zvereva.[4]

In 2009, she was inducted into the USTA Northern Hall of Fame,[3] having already been inducted into the Pepperdine Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.[5] Helgeson-Nielsen now lives in Alpine, California,[1] with her two boys. She runs her own professional tennis instruction business.[1]


External links[edit]