No.1 Spotlight: Evonne Goolagong
Published April 16, 2013 12:00
Long-limbed, graceful and with cat-like reflexes, Evonne Goolagong was as elegant on the court as she was charming off it.
After leaving her provincial home town of Barellan, Australia, at 13 in search of fortune and glory on the tennis circuit, Goolagong proved she had plenty of substance to go along with her style. In an age of unparalleled strength at the top of the game, the Australian carved out a Hall Of Fame worthy career, picking up 68 titles and scaling the top of the rankings in 1976.
Her breakthrough came in 1971, when Goolagong and her stylish backhand came out of nowhere to capture Parisian hearts and the title on her Roland Garros debut. One month later, the 19-year-old shocked the world again when she upset her idol, fellow Australian Margaret Court, to win Wimbledon.
The following decade saw her pick up a further five majors, with her final hurrah coming back at the All-England Club in 1980, when she defeated Tracy Austin and Chris Evert to become the first mother since World War I to win the title.
• Won seven Grand Slam titles: four at Australian Open, two at Wimbledon and one at Roland Garros. Her four Australian Open triumphs is tied for second-most of the Open Era
• From 1974 to 1977, reached nine finals in 10 Grand Slam events contested
• Reached seven consecutive Australian Open finals from 1971-77 (missed Jan 1977 staging)
• At 1980 Wimbledon, became first mother since Dorothea Lambert Chambers in 1914 to win there; her nine years between titles at the All-England Club (also won there in 1971) is the WTA's longest gap between Wimbledon titles
• Won season-ending WTA Championships in 1974 and 1976. Rose to World No.1 shortly after 1976 victory
• Won at least one WTA singles title 11 straight years (1970-80)
• Her 68 WTA singles titles is fifth-most of Open Era. Also captured 11 doubles titles, five of them Grand Slams, and one mixed doubles Grand Slam
• Her 695 matches won is tied for eighth-most of Open Era
• Won the WTA's Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award in 1978 and 1980
• Inducted into International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1988
• Australian Fed Cup captain 2002-04
• Active in programs that encourage Australia's indigenous youth to play tennis and stay in education