Evonne Goolagong Cawley Reflects On 50th Wimbledon Anniversary

Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Ash Barty (photo: Tennis Australia/Twitter)

Tennis Australia, June 27, 2021

Australian tennis legend and Wiradjuri woman Evonne Goolagong Cawley has reflected on her first Wimbledon Grand Slam title in 1971 in an interview with Tennis Australia to celebrate her golden anniversary.

Goolagong Cawley defeated fellow Aussie Margaret Court 6-4 6-1 to claim her second consecutive Grand Slam title at the age of just 19.

In honour of Evonne’s achievements world No.1 and Ngarigo woman Ash Barty will wear a FILA dress inspired by Goolagong’s 1971 Wimbledon outfit, designed by the famous Ted Tinling who revolutionised tennis fashion.

“Wow, it just blows my mind, obviously the first thing I thought was I didn’t want to mess up your [Barty’s] routine or anything, but if that’s what she really wants to do, what a wonderful thing, what a wonderful honour, and for me, it’s fantastic,” Goolagong Cawley said of Barty’s tribute.

“It was my favourite, it was the scalloped dress, it had buttons and I asked Ted Tinling to make me a scalloped dress … I wore it more than any other dress, so I wore it in my final because it was my favourite.

“He [Tinling] always made such beautiful dresses, in fact he later also made me a dress with ‘tall trees by still waters’, so gum trees and water on the side, and that at the time, was what I believed was the meaning of my name Goolagong, and the other meaning was ‘nose of the kangaroo’ so I think I preferred tall trees by still waters (laughing).”

“It’s a really special anniversary for Evonne. It’s her 50th anniversary since she won her first title here. And I think for me in particular, it’s a really special stepping stone in our heritage and in our culture,” Barty added.

“For me to be able to wear an outfit inspired by her iconic dress is something really special. When we had the idea and I called her and asked her if it would be okay if I could wear a dress, that was inspired by hers. That was really important for me to know that she was comfortable with it because it is such an iconic dress. And I can’t wait to wear my version of it and hopefully pave the path for the next generation of young indigenous youth to come through.”

Goolagong, finished her trail-blazing career with 14 Grand Slam titles including seven singles, six doubles and one mixed doubles.

At the age of eight, as a little girl in Barellan, NSW, Goolagong dreamed of winning Wimbledon as she practised hitting against a wall. Her dream came true in only her second appearance at the Championships in 1971, when as the No.3 seed she defeated top seed and defending champion Margaret Court.

Wimbledon 1971, women’s singles winner

  • First round [3] Evonne Goolagong (AUS) d Gail Hansen (USA) 6-0 6-2
  • Second round [3] Evonne Goolagong (AUS) d Kristien Kemmer (USA) 6-4 6-1
  • Third round [3] Evonne Goolagong (AUS) d Julie Heldman (USA) 6-3 6-3
  • Fourth round [3] Evonne Goolagong (AUS) d Lesley Hunt (AUS) 1-6 6-2 6-1
  • Quarterfinal [3] Evonne Goolagong (AUS) d [6] Nancy Richey (USA) 6-3 6-2
  • Semifinal [3] Evonne Goolagong (AUS) d [2] Billie Jean King (USA) 6-4 6-4
  • Final [3] Evonne Goolagong (AUS) d [1] Margaret Court (AUS) 6-4 6-1