Melbourne, 22 May 2012 |

As we count down to French Open 2012, will feature some of the best Australian achievements at Roland Garros. The highlights will be revealed in chronological order and when all 20 have been named, you get the chance to vote for your No.1 achievement.

1971 Evonne Goolagong wins the first of her seven singles majors

Evonne Goolagong was just 19 when she won her first of 14 Grand Slam titles. A sublime mover on court, Goolagong’s speed was matched by her graceful strokes.

Seeded third on debut at Roland Garros, Goolagong stunned the field to make it to the final without dropping a set. Top seed Margaret Court’s surprise loss in the third round robbed the tournament of a possible Court–Goolagong final, instead it was unseeded Helen Gourlay who had to try and stop Goolagong’s fairytale run in the final.

She couldn’t do it. Goolagong won 6-3 7-5 to become the first person since American Althea Gibson in 1956 to win in Paris on her first attempt.

Weeks later she would endear herself to the city of London as she won her second major at The Championships, this time defeating her idol Margaret Court in the final.

These early successes sparked a run that saw Goolagong make it to 17 Grand Slam tournament finals during the 1970s – more than any other player male or female during that period.

To add to her French and Wimbledon titles in 1971, she won four consecutive Australian Opens between 1974 and 1977, but on the flipside, she lost four consecutive US Open finals from 1973 to 1976 – a record she still holds. A second Wimbledon title would come in 1980.

Goolagong finished her career with 68 WTA titles and 14 Grand Slam titles (seven singles, six doubles and one mixed). And in 2007 she was retrospectively honoured as being the world No.1 for a two-week period in 1976 after some missing records were uncovered.

“I knew at the time in 1976 that I was No.1. It was a real surprise but very satisfying to finally be recognised as No.1 in the world,” she said.

Goolagong now devotes much of her time to promoting tennis through the Learn Earn Legend! Program in conjunction with Tennis Australia and the government.

“I think champions come along once in a while and if we can get more young kids playing the game then we’ve got a better chance of finding that champion. And I’m trying to do my part by getting as many young kids playing the game as possible.”

Profile: Evonne Goolagong

Aussies at Roland Garros – the complete list to date

1933 Jack Crawford becomes the first Australian to win the Roland Garros men’s singles title

1951 Ken McGregor plays a marathon semifinal against South African Eric Sturgess

1953 Ken Rosewall wins the men’s singles title 12 months after winning the Roland Garros boys’ championships

1958 Mervyn Rose wins the singles final while Ashley Cooper and Neale Fraser take the doubles

1960–1965 Roy Emerson features in six consecutive winning doubles duos

1962 Margaret Smith wins her first major on foreign soil

1962 Rod Laver wins the men’s singles title on his way to his first calendar year Grand Slam

1963–1965 Three in a row for mixed doubles pair Margaret Smith and Ken Fletcher

1964 Margaret Smith sweeps Roland Garros

1965 Lesley Turner is singles and doubles champion

1965–1969 Stolle, Roche, Emerson, Rosewall and Laver headline five years of dominance

1968 Ken Rosewall wins singles and doubles at the age of 33

1969 Rod Laver salutes in Paris on his way to his second Grand Slam

1970 Margaret Court wins the French Open on her way to a calendar year Grand Slam

1971 Evonne Goolagong wins the first of her seven singles majors