Evonne Goolagong Cawley: Who Was She?
Evonne Goolagong Cawley is an Australian tennis legend whose career spanned from the 1960s to the 1980s.
She is widely regarded as one of the greatest female tennis players of all time, having won seven Grand Slam singles titles during her illustrious career.
During her career she was nicknamed the “Sunshine Super Girl”.
Evonne Goolagong Cawley: Her Early Life
Evonne Goolagong Cawley was born in July 1951 in Griffith, New South Wales.
She grew up in the small rural town of Barellan, and was the fourth of nine children raised by her parents who were both Indigenous Australians.
Goolagong Cawley received no formal education during this time, but trained as a tennis player from an early age under the guidance of her father.
As a young girl, she often faced racism as an Aboriginal.
At the time, many Australians thought the best practice was to remove Aboriginal children from their families to be given a life away from poverty and an education in white Australian society.
“Whenever a car would come down the road, my mum would tell us to hide ‘or else the welfare man would take you away,’” she recalled.
She began playing tennis at the age of four and quickly developed into a highly competitive player.
She got her break when she was caught peering through a fence onto a local tennis court. A tennis player named Bill Kurtzman caught her peeking and asked her if she’d like to join.
By 14, she had already achieved success on the court by winning two state girls’ championships in both singles and doubles.
Evonne Goolagong Cawley: Her Tennis Career
In 1971, Evonne won her first major title at the French Open.
This victory put her on the map as one of the best players in professional tennis and set off a streak of remarkable wins over the next few years.
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From 1971-1973, she was ranked No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).
During this period, she won six Grand Slam singles titles (Australian Open 1971-72, Wimbledon 1971-73 & 1980), one doubles title (Wimbledon 1972), and 12 WTA Tour singles titles.
Her 7 singles’ grand slam titles makes her one of the best tennis players ever, on par with the likes as Venus Williams who also has 7 personal titles.
Her doubles partner was Margaret Court, another Australian tennis great, and the player with most single grand slam titles won. Together they have won five titles.
In 1971, Goolagong beat Court to to win the Australian Open singles title. This marked the first time that an Indigenous Australian had won a Grand Slam singles title.
In 1977, Goolagong went on to defeat Court in the Wimbledon final, becoming only the second woman after Billie Jean King to win two grand slam titles back-to-back.
Evonne Goolagong Cawley: Achievements and Legacy
Evonne was known for her agility on court as well as her graceful sportsmanship and professionalism off it.
Her style of play earned her praise from fans and fellow players alike, and she earned several awards throughout her career including being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1988 and receiving multiple Order of Australia honors for services to sport between 1989–1996.
In 2022, she won the “Spirit of Tennis Award”.
In addition to being a successful athlete, Evonne also became an advocate for Aboriginal rights upon retirement from professional tennis in 1983.
Evonne Goolagong Cawley is a former world number one tennis champion from Australia.
She was the first Australian Indigenous woman to become a professional tennis player and the first Indigenous person to win a Grand Slam title.
In her career, she won 12 Grand Slam titles, including seven singles titles and five doubles titles.
Her 1980 Wimbledon win made her only a few players who were able to win a grand slam title after pregnancy (one of the only titles Serena Williams wasn’t able to achieve).
See More: More amazing trailblazing Australian women
How many Grand Slams did Evonne Goolagong Cawley win?
Evonne Goolagong Cawley won seven Grand Slam singles titles during her career, with four of them coming at the Australian Open.
She also won two French Opens and one Wimbledon championship.
In addition, she was runner-up in five more Grand Slam tournaments, including three times in the US Open.
Throughout her tennis career, she had an impressive record of 704-165 in singles matches.
How did Evonne Goolagong change the world?
Evonne Goolagong Cawley is an Australian tennis legend who made history in the 1970s and early 1980s. She was the first mother in the Open era to win a Grand Slam title, winning four consecutive Australian Open titles between 1974 and 1977.
She was also the first Indigenous Australian to win a Grand Slam singles title, and she was ranked in the top 10 for nine years, climbing to the top of the rankings for two weeks in 1976.
Goolagong’s success on the court inspired many young athletes, particularly those from Indigenous backgrounds.
Her achievements showed that anything is possible with hard work and dedication, no matter where you come from. She has been an advocate for Indigenous rights throughout her career, using her platform to speak out against racism and inequality.
Goolagong also founded the Evonne Goolagong Foundation in 2002, which works to improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
The foundation has provided scholarships to over 500 students since its inception, helping them pursue their dreams of higher education.
Evonne Goolagong Cawley is a true trailblazer who changed the world through her achievements on and off the court.
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