Only one mother has ever won Wimbledon without a corset under her dress. Evonne Goolagong's run to the 1980 Wimbledon title - playing typically freewheeling, uninhibited tennis - was truly a once-in-a-century event.
This summer marks 40 years since Goolagong's triumph at the All England Club, and the Australian remains - despite Serena Williams' recent efforts - the last mother to have lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish. But Goolagong's victory over Chris Evert that summer was far more historically significant: she is the only mum to have conquered Centre Court since Britain's Dorothea Lambert Chambers was victorious in 1914.
While two other mothers have won Grand Slams in the post-1968 Open Era - Margaret Court and Kim Clijsters - their victories were away from south-west London. Goolagong stands alone on the Wimbledon grass.
"When I came off court, I was told I was the first mother to win the singles title for 66 years. It’s now been 40 years since I won," she told wtatennis.com. "Only two other mothers have won Grand Slams in the Open Era. So, no, I guess it’s not that surprising [that another mother hasn't won Wimbledon since]. It’s just not that easy after children."
As a young girl, Goolagong had read a magazine story about "a princess who goes to this magical place called Wimbledon", and from then on whenever she hit the ball against a wall she imagined she was on Centre Court. At night, she dreamed of the lawns. Goolagong's first Wimbledon title was in the summer of 1971. The second time she won Wimbledon, some nine years later, she was married to Roger Cawley and had a three-year-old-daughter, Kelly.
Any Wimbledon title is special. But Goolagong - now Goolagong Cawley - said her second, as a mum, was more special than the first.
"My dream growing up was to win Wimbledon, which was fantastic when it happened in 1971. However, I loved playing after having Kelly – she made our lives complete and even more full of joy. In 1980 I had to overcome two years of injuries and illness. I really wanted to win Wimbledon again," she said. "I later wrote in my book 'that underneath the torrent of emotion I felt after winning was a deep and abiding happiness, the kind of happiness that comes when you know that you have truly, sincerely given of your best and your best has been the best'.”
Goolagong's success was all the more remarkable because she hadn't been well for some time.
"I remember the relief at feeling better because I had been ill and not playing for two months. Roger joked we were only in England because we had paid a big deposit on a house," she said.
"We rented the grass courts at Cumberland Lawn Tennis Club for the week prior to Wimbledon from 9am to 2pm each day, along with Vitas [Gerulaitis] and Bjorn [Borg], and incredibly I started to feel even better and was playing really well. It was a wet Wimbledon with frequent breaks in matches but not for me. The sun shone for all my matches until I was up 6-1, 1-1 all in the second set in the final. I think that’s why Bud Collins called me ‘Sunshine Supergirl’ in the press afterwards."
Goolagong would go on to win 6-1, 7-6, with runner-up Evert recalling in an interview with wtatennis.com that the result had been "very significant".
"It was pretty unheard of in the day [for a mother to win a major] but Evonne was so chill and relaxed and had a supportive husband who was helping her with the baby and her tennis," Evert said.
Goolagong's Wimbledon title was the last of her seven Grand Slam victories (she won four Australian Opens and one French Open, to go with her two Wimbledon crowns). Any time a mother is competing on the tour, it's inspirational to see, Evert said, but some will choose not to continue playing after becoming a parent.
"It isn’t easy, but it’s doable. It’s also not for everybody," said Evert, who won all 18 of her Grand Slam singles titles before starting a family.
"Some players want to be with their kids every step of the way and settle into domestic bliss. It is inspiring to see moms competing, but it really depends on the woman. Careers are longer now so more women athletes might choose to take a year off to have kids. Isn't it great to have this choice?"
Goolagong, who travelled with a nanny and feels as though she invented the player entourage, is delighted to see mothers competing on the WTA Tour.
"It’s now common for women in all fields of life to return to their working roles after having children, including in sport. It’s challenging, even difficult, at the top level but I think it’s great for tennis that we have some more mums out there today," she said. "The challenges for women today are pretty much the same as they were for me, with the travel, body changes and subsequent injuries, and press and public commitments."
The Australian would "absolutely love" for Williams, or another mother, to win Wimbledon next summer. "I would love it to happen. It would make mums everywhere, including this one, feel great."