Melbourne VIC, Australia, 25 November 2014 | Matt Trollope

Australia’s champion Fed Cup team of 1974 was honoured on Monday night at the Newcombe Medal Australian Tennis Awards on the 40th anniversary of their historic triumph.

Two members of the team – Janet Young and Dianne (Fromholtz) Balestrat – were on hand to re-live the triumph, which they achieved alongside decorated compatriot Evonne Goolangong on the red clay courts of Naples in Italy.

The victory saw the Aussies beat Japan, Italy and Great Britain and the powerful United States – back when the competition was a truncated affair gathering 29 nations together in a single location – to defend their title from the previous year.

Young and Balestrat were presented with commorative framed photographs of the triumph by another Aussie female tennis legend, Margaret Court.

“To celebrate it in front of the tennis community is exceptionally special for me,” said Young.

Added Balestrat: “I think it has (trumped individual achievements). As a team event and being with Evonne – she’s a lady of history – and Janet, all of us combined, that was a good time.”

The 1974 victory is especially significant given it is the last time Australia won the prestigious tennis team competition.

Since then, Australia has reached eight finals – in 1975-1980, 1984 and 1993 – as well as this year’s World Group semifinals, without going all the way.

In the 1974 decider, Goolangong got the Aussies off to a great start with a straight sets singles win, before Balestrat, just 17 years of age, fell in a thrilling three-setter to Jeanne Evert.

In the deciding doubles rubber, Goolagong and Young teamed to beat Julie Heldman and Sharon Walsh 7-5 8-6.

“I think we won because we were a team, we weren’t individuals, we actually combined and cared about each other and really worked as a team,” Young reflected.

“I think was team spirit in many ways that pulled us through … We’re lifelong friends now and that’s been very special.”

Both Young and Balestrat believed that Australia’s current team – led by captain Alicia Molik and anchored by top 30 stars Sam Stosur and Casey Dellacqua – had what it took to win the coveted trophy.

“We were successful because we could all play singles or doubles, we had options,” Young said.

“The present team we’ve got, with Sam and Casey, is similar – they’re singles players, they’re doubles players. A team will win it, and they’re good friends as I understand it.

“It was good to get (our long-standing record) celebrated tonight because it may I think fall at any time.”