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winner of 285 out of 357 matches
Evonne Goolagong was born in Barellan, New South Wales, Australia, on July 31, 1951, the third of eight children born to Kenneth and Linda Goolagong. Both of her parents were of Aborigine stock, and her mother was genuinely afraid that "white" Australians would take her children away because many Australians were advocating the removal of aboriginal children from their families so they could grow up away from poverty. When she was all of five years old, Evonne became a ball girl at the Barellan War Memorial Tennis Club, where she not only earned some pocket money but also honed her agility and speed. By the time she was six her aunt had given her a tennis racquet, and she was playing tennis regularly by the time she was eight.
Goolagong quickly became a young sensation at the tennis club, and, in 1967, she was spotted there by well-known Australian tennis coach Vic Edwards. Seeing her potential almost immediately, Edwards convinced Goolagong's parents to let her move to Sydney with him so he could coach her full time. In addition to honing her tennis skills, Edwards also made sure Evonne got an education. She graduated from the Willoughby Girls High School in 1968, and then began secretarial studies at Metropolitan Business College (just in case her tennis career didn't work out).
Goolagong began playing on the international amateur tour in 1970, winning 7 of the 21 tournaments she entered that year. She also played at Wimbledon, but was eliminated in the first round. She turned professional in 1971, and from that time on never had to consider falling back on her secretarial training.
Goolagong's first Grand Slam wins came in her first year as a professional; she defeated Helen Gournay at the French Open, and then made up for her debut Wimbledon loss by defeating fellow Australian Margaret Smith Court. In 1972 she won the Canadian Open singles and doubles championships and the French Open mixed doubles, but lost her bid for consecutive Wimbledon wins to Billie Jean King.
On June 19, 1975, Goolagong married British tennis player Roger Cawley. She severed her relationship with Edwards that same year, and the couple moved to the United States and settled in Naples, Florida. Also in 1975, she won the Aaustralian Open, but lost in the finals of both Wimbledon (again to Billie Jean King) and the U.S. Open. She won her third Australian Open in 1976, but once again lost both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Her daughter Kelly was born on May 29, 1977, and the only Grand Slam event she participated in that year was the December installment of the Australian Open, in which she defeated Helen Gournay to bring home her fourth championship. She played at Wimbledon in both 1978 and 1979, but failed to advance past the semi-finals in both years. Returning to Wimbledon in 1980, Goolagong became only the second mother ever to win that event, by defeating Chris Evert in two sets. Her son Morgan was born on May 28, 1981, and, failing to win another major tournament, she officially retired from the court in 1983.
Since returning to Australia and taking up residence in Noosa, Queensland, Evonne Goolagong-Cawley has been an active advocate for aboriginal rights and a consultant to the Australian Sports Commission's indigenous sports program. She also works with Australia's Salvation Army as their spokesperson, consults with the company Herbal Creations in their development of an herbal tablet to help women through menopause, and makes appearances on the Virginia Slims Legends Tour. Her autobiography, Home! The Evonne Goolagong Story (with Phil Jarrett) was published in 1993.
During the course of Goolagong's 12-year professional career, she was ranked in the Top 10 at some point in nine of them, and was ranked Number 1 for one week in 1976. She racked up a total of 285 victories, against just 72 losses, earned a total of 19 titles (including 7 in Grand Slam events), and amassed prize winnings of almost $1.5 million. She won the Australian Open four times, Wimbledon twice, and the French Open once, but lost four consecutive U.S. Open finals (the only major tournament she never won). She was also a member of three winning Australian teams at the Federation Cup, in 1971, 1973, and 1974.
Grand Slam Finals Results
Women's Doubles Finals Results
Mixed Doubles Finals Results
Year-End Championships Results
Tournament Wins By Year
1970 -- Southport, Hampstead, Newport-Wales, Hoylake,
Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, 1971
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This page was last updated on November 14, 2018.