Evonne Goolagong Cawley

Evonne Fay Goolagong Cawley AC MBE (born 31 July 1951), known as Evonne Goolagong in her earlier career, is an Australian former world No. 1 tennis player. She was one of the world's leading players in the 1970s and early 1980s, the number one Australian pro on tour after the retirement of Margaret Court. Goolagong Cawley won 14 Grand Slam titles: seven in singles (four at the Australian Open, two at Wimbledon and one at the French Open), six in women's doubles, and one in mixed doubles.

Evonne Goolagong Cawley
Goolagong Cawley at the 1971 Dutch Open
Country (sports) Australia
Born (1951-07-31) 31 July 1951
Griffith, New South Wales, Australia
(one-handed backhand)
Prize money$1,399,431
Int. Tennis HoF1988 (member page)
Career record704–165
Career titles86 (68 during the open era)
Highest rankingNo. 1 (26 April 1976)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian OpenW (1974, 1975, 1976, 1977Dec)
French OpenW (1971)
WimbledonW (1971, 1980)
US OpenF (1973, 1974, 1975, 1976)
Other tournaments
Tour FinalsW (1974, 1976)
Career record18–16
Career titles46
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian OpenW (1971, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977Dec)
French OpenSF (1971)
WimbledonW (1974)
US OpenSF (1972, 1973, 1974)
Mixed doubles
Career titles1
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French OpenW (1972)
WimbledonF (1972)
Team competitions
Fed CupW (1971, 1973, 1974)

Early life

Born Evonne Fay Goolagong, she is the third of eight children[1] from an Australian Aboriginal family. Her parents, Kenny Goolagong (an itinerant sheep shearer) and Melinda, are members of the Wiradjuri people. She was born in Griffith, New South Wales, and grew up in the small country town of Barellan. Although Aboriginal people faced widespread discrimination in rural Australia at this time, Goolagong was able to play tennis in Barellan from childhood thanks to a local resident, Bill Kurtzman, who saw her peering through the fence at the local courts and encouraged her to come in and play.[2] In 1965, Vic Edwards, the proprietor of a tennis school in Sydney, was tipped off by two of his assistants, travelled to Barellan to take a look at the young Goolagong, and immediately saw her potential. He persuaded Goolagong's parents to allow her to move to Sydney, where she attended Willoughby Girls High School. Here, she completed her School Certificate in 1968 and was at the same time coached by Edwards and lived in his household.

Career and Grand Slam success

With seven championships, Goolagong is 12th on the women's list of all-time singles grand slam winners, and ended her career with 82 singles titles. She took singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles at the Australian and French Opens and Wimbledon. She never won at the US Open. She won seven Grand Slam singles titles in her career, reaching a total of eighteen Grand Slam singles finals. During the 1970s, she played in seventeen Grand Slam singles finals, a period record for any player, man or woman. From her first Grand Slam singles final appearance in January 1971, to December 1977 when she won her last Grand Slam of the 1970s, she played in 21 Grand Slam events. Her only four defeats prior to the finals came at the 1972 US Open in the third round; 1974 Wimbledon, where she was defeated in the quarterfinals; and at the semifinal stage at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 1973. To start the decade, she was defeated at the 1970 Australian Open in the quarter-finals and in the second round of the 1970 Wimbledon. In 1971, 1975, 1976 and 1977, Goolagong reached the final of every Grand Slam in which she competed. Between 1973 and 1977, she reached the final of almost every Grand Slam singles event she entered. The exceptions were: Roland Garros, where she lost to Margaret Court Smith in the semi-finals in 1973; and Wimbledon, where she played in only two finals in that period, 1975 and 1976, losing both; she lost in 1973 to eventual champion Billie Jean King in the semi-finals; and in 1974 to Australian Kerry Melville at the quarter-final stage; she didn't enter in 1977, the year her daughter was born. Also in 1974, she teamed up with Peggy Michel to win the Ladies' Doubles title. She has won the women's doubles title at the Australian Open five times and in Roland Garros once, as well as mixed doubles at Roland Garros once.

Following her victory at the season-ending WTA Championships in 1976[3] – known at the time as the Virginia Slims Championships – her seventh tournament victory of the year, Goolagong continued to play on the WTA tour until 1983, but never again played a full season. After her victory over Chris Evert in the WTA Championship, she only played in three competitive tournaments for the remainder of 1976, losing in both finals to Evert (Wimbledon & US Open) and the Sydney quarter finals in November, which she played while four months pregnant. She focused instead on WTT Team Tennis and exhibition events.

Goolagong realised during the 1976 US Open final that she was pregnant and didn't play again on the regular tour until the late summer of 1977, continuing through to Wimbledon 1978. Her return to the tour kick-started a highly successful run of play, during which she won 10 tournaments including the Australian Open in a run of five consecutive tournament wins and reached the final in two others, including the season ending WTA Championship, where she lost to Martina Navratilova. From being un-ranked at the beginning of her return, Goolagong's ranking rose to number 3 in the world, but during Wimbledon 1978, a career-threatening ankle injury forced her to miss the remainder of 1978 (other than an exhibition event played in December) and she didn't return to competitive play until March 1979, when she won four tournaments and ended the year ranked 4 in the world. Injuries at the beginning of 1980 kept her away from the tour for many weeks in the first six months of the year, but she returned in triumph at Wimbledon, yet only played three further tournaments for the remainder of the year after her final grand slam victory. She withdrew from the US Open where she had been seeded fourth, due to a recurring back injury and the early stages of her second pregnancy, although she did play the Australian Open championships at the end of the year, despite her advancing pregnancy. Goolagong was then absent for almost all of 1981, returning to tournament play in Australia towards the end of the year and reaching the quarter-finals of the first two tournaments she played, losing to Evert in Sydney, and at the Australian Open to Navratilova. Her comeback wasn't consistent and despite pushing Evert to three sets and beating reigning French Open champion Hana Mandlikova in the Citizen Cup played on clay in March 1982, she only played sporadically through the year, reaching just one singles final at Sydney where she lost in three sets to Navratilova, and losing her only match at Wimbledon to Zina Garrison before retiring after Wimbledon 1983.

She is the only mother to have won the Wimbledon title since Dorothea Lambert Chambers in 1914. Married to Roger Cawley in 1975, she had a daughter in 1977 and won the 1980 Wimbledon title.

Goolagong reached four consecutive US Open singles finals, from 1973 to 1976, but lost them all. She is the only player in U.S. championships history to have lost four consecutive finals.[4] Goolagong made seven consecutive finals at the Australian Open, winning three titles in a row. Despite reaching the final at her first two appearances in 1971 and 1972, after 1973 Goolagong didn't compete at the Roland Garros for a decade. The French Tennis Federation banned all World Team Tennis contracted players from the 1974 event, with the player's unions instigating legal action against the French authorities. As Jimmy Connors and Goolagong were the reigning Australian Open champions, they spearheaded the legal action as they were being deprived of the opportunity to attain the tennis calendar Grand Slam as a result of the decision. Connors admitted this was a huge distraction and later wrote both he and Goolagong were "hung out to dry".[5] Goolagong boycotted the event even after the ban was lifted, but returned in 1983 for her final Grand Slam singles appearance. She lost in the last thirty-two to Chris Evert and didn't compete in any further Grand Slam singles events. Her last appearance at Grand Slam level came at the following 1983 Wimbledon Championships when she partnered Sue Barker to a first round defeat in the doubles, having withdrawn from the singles event earlier.

Her career win-loss percentage was 81.01% (704–165). Her win-loss performance in all Grand Slam singles tournaments was 82.09% (133–29), at the French Open, 84.21% (16–3), at Wimbledon, 83.33% (50–10), at the US Open, 81.25% (26–6), and at the Australian Open, 80.39% (41–10).

Goolagong was ranked number one in the world in women's tennis for two weeks in 1976, but it wasn't reported at the time because incomplete data was used to calculate the rankings. This was discovered in December 2007, 31 years later. She was the second woman to hold the top spot, but the 16th at the time she was finally recognised.[6]

Life after touring

Goolagong spent some time as a touring professional at the Hilton Head Racquet Club in South Carolina before returning to Australia.[7]

Goolagong was a member of the Board of the Australian Sports Commission from 1995 to 1997 and since 1997 has held the position of Sports Ambassador to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities. She was appointed captain of the Australian Fed Cup team in 2002. In 2003, she was winner for the Oceania region of the International Olympic Committee's 2003 Women and Sports Trophy. She also runs an annual "Goolagong National Development Camp", with the aim of encouraging Aboriginal children to stay in school through playing competitive tennis.[8]

Awards and recognition

Goolagong was awarded Australian of the Year in 1971.[9] She was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1972 and made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1982. In 1985 she was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.[10] In 1988, Goolagong was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. In 2018 she was advanced to a Companion of the Order of Australia "for eminent service to tennis as a player at the national and international level, as an ambassador, supporter and advocate for the health, education and wellbeing of young Indigenous people through participation in sport, and as a role model".[11]

In 1972, she played in a segregated South African tournament. To spare her the discrimination experienced by non-whites, the South African authorities classified her as an honorary white.[12]

In 1978 and 1980, she was awarded the WTA Sportsmanship Award.

The Evonne Goolagong Cawley Trophy, awarded to the female champion at the Brisbane International, is named in her honour.[13]

In 1993, the State Transit Authority named a RiverCat ferry in Sydney after her. This rivercat travels daily from Parramatta to Circular Quay.

The National Museum of Australia holds the Evonne Goolagong Cawley collection of memorabilia. This includes her 1971 and 1980 Wimbledon singles trophies, the trophy from her 1974 doubles win and two racquets used in these tournaments. The museum's collection also includes a signed warm-up jacket and a dress with a bolero style top designed by Ted Tinling in the early 1970s.[14]

In 2001, Goolagong was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women for her achievements as a tennis player.[15]

In February 2016 she and ten fellow Australian tennis players were honoured by Australia Post as the recipients of the 2016 Australia Post Legends Award and appeared on a postage stamp set named Australian Legends of Singles Tennis.[16][17]

In April 2016 Goolagong was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of South Australia in recognition of her distinguished service to the community.[18]

In June 2018 the International Tennis Federation (ITF) presented her with its highest accolade, the Philippe Chatrier Award for her contributions to tennis.[19]

Personal life

While competing in the doubles event of the Wimbledon warm up event in Eastbourne (she did not enter the singles competition), Goolagong married former junior British tennis player Roger Cawley in London on 19 June 1975.[20] She continued in the doubles tournament, losing two days later in the final partnering with Peggy Michel. As the draw had already taken place prior to the marriage ceremony, Wimbledon was unable to record her entry as Mrs R.A. Cawley in the official draw sheet until the second round. Following her wedding, she settled in Naples, Florida.

After living in the U.S. for eight years, the couple bought a home in Noosa Heads, Queensland, where they settled with their two United States-born children, Kelly and Morgan. Daughter Kelly (born 1977)[21] helps run her tennis camps, and son Morgan Kiema Cawley (born 1981)[7] was a National Soccer League player.


  • Home! The Evonne Goolagong Story; Goolagong Cawley, Evonne and Jarrett, Phil (1993), ISBN 0-7318-0381-7[22]

A play based on the life of Goolagong Cawley called "Sunshine Super Girl", written and directed by Andrea James, will première with the Melbourne Theatre Company in 2020.[23]

Career statistics

(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
Australian Open 3R 3R 2R QF F F F W W W A W A A 2R QF 2R A 4 / 14
French Open A A A A W F SF A A A A A A A A A 3R 1 / 4
Wimbledon A A A 2R W F SF QF F F A SF SF W A 2R A 2 / 11
US Open A A A A A 3R F F F F A A QF A A A A 0 / 6
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 2 / 3 0 / 4 0 / 4 1 / 3 1 / 3 1 / 3 1 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 1 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 7 / 35
Year-end ranking 5 2 3 4 5 17 37

Note: The Australian Open was held twice in '77, in January and December. Goolagong won the December edition. She was seeded #4 for the 1980 US Open Championships, but withdrew from the tournament before play began.


  • These records were attained in the Open Era of tennis.
  • Records in bold indicate peer-less achievements.
ChampionshipYearsRecord accomplishedPlayer tied
Australian Open1971–19766 consecutive finalsMartina Hingis
Australian Open1975–1977[b]3 wins without losing a setSteffi Graf
Australian Open1974–19763 consecutive titlesMargaret Court
Steffi Graf
Monica Seles
Martina Hingis
French Open1971Won title on the first attemptStands alone
Wimbledon 1980 Won Wimbledon as a mother Dorothea Lambert Chambers
US Open 1973–19764 consecutive runner-ups Stands alone


  • a Margaret Osborne duPont and Althea Gibson also hold these records; however, they attained those in the pre-Open Era.
  • b The Australian Open was held twice in 1977, in January and December. Goolagong Cawley did not play in the January edition but made the final in the December tournament.

See also


  1. Judy Klemesrud (1 November 1980). "Goolagong discusses aborigine roots". The Day. p. 11 via Google News Archive.
  2. Matt Majendie, for CNN (30 January 2015). "Evonne Goolagong: Defying prejudice to become a star". CNN.
  3. Joe Jares (26 April 1976). "A net gain for concentration". Sports Illustrated. Vol. 44 no. 17. pp. 28–30, 33.
  4. "US Open – Women's Singles Champions 1887–2015". www.usopen.org. USTA.
  5. Connors, Jimmy. "The Outsider: My Autobiography". Corgi Paperback – 5 Jun 2014. ISBN 978-0552166416
  6. Computer glitch denied Goolagong No. 1 WTA ranking in '76, Associated Press, ESPN Sports, 31 December 2007.
  7. John Roberts (20 April 1993). "Where Are they Now? Evonne Goolagong". The Independent.
  8. Grand Slam champ Evonne Goolagong uses camp to search for next aboriginal player or coach, 13 January 2008, By Dennis Passa, AP Sports Writer, USA Today.
  9. Lewis, Wendy (2010). Australians of the Year. Pier 9 Press. ISBN 978-1-74196-809-5.
  10. "Evonne Cawley AO MBE". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  11. "Australia Day Honours 2018: The full list". The Sydney Morning Herald. 26 January 2018. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  12. "How the Daughter of an Ancient Race Made It Out of the Australian Outback". www.nytimes.com. The New York Times Magazine. 29 August 1971.
  13. Brisbane International women's trophy named in honour of Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Courier Mail, 23 December 2011
  14. "National Museum of Australia – Evonne Goolagong Cawley tennis collection".
  15. 2017 Victorian Honour Roll of Women Commemorative Booklet. Victoria: Office of Prevention & Women’s Equality, State of Victoria. 2017. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-7311-6655-8.
  16. "Aussie tennis legends immortalised on stamps". tennis.com.au. Tennis Australia. 10 February 2016.
  17. "Australian Legends of Singles Tennis". Australia Post.
  18. Michèle Nardelli; Mary-Jane McArdle (April 2016). "A break from tradition in honouring Australian role models". University of South Australia. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  19. Courtney Walsh (7 June 2018). "ITF honours Evonne Goolagong Cawley with top gong at Paris awards night". The Australian.
  20. Thomas Rogers (20 June 1975). "People in Sports". The New York Times. p. 14.
  21. "Evonne Gives Birth to Daughter". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. AP. 13 May 1977. p. 3F via Google News Archive.
  22. Evonne Goolagong, Tennis Champion – 25 May 1998 – SI Vault .. "whose '93 autobiography, Home! The Evonne Goolagong Story, was an Australian bestseller."
  23. Jefferson, Dee (3 September 2019). "From small-town Australia to world number one: Evonne Goolagong's incredible life the focus of new play". ABC News. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.