Goolagong Cawley to be honoured on 50th anniversary of first AO title
Australian legend Evonne Goolagong Cawley is set to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her first Australian Open singles title this summer.
Australian tennis legend Evonne Goolagong Cawley will be honoured at Australian Open 2024 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her first AO singles title in 1974.
“Evonne Goolagong Cawley is a true legend of our game and an Australian icon. She is a household name renowned not only for her tennis prowess, but for her grace, humility, and inspiring work with Indigenous young people through her foundation for many years,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.
“Evonne has inspired countless others, particularly young Indigenous people, to pursue their dreams and continue their education, whether through tennis, sport or other endeavours. We feel very proud to honour and celebrate Evonne at Australian Open 2024.”
On the celebrations, Goolagong Cawley said: “It’s very exciting to be honoured at Australian Open 2024. I can’t quite believe it’s been 50 years since I first won the women’s title there. I have so many great memories playing at the Australian Open, where I could always rely on having the support of the home crowd. It will be wonderful to re-live these memories with family, friends and fans.”
As part of the celebrations, Tennis Australia has collaborated with Lyn-Al Young, a renowned Gunnai, Wiradjuri, Gunditjmara and Yorta Yorta artist and designer to create a commemorative merchandise range honouring Goolagong Cawley, a proud Wiradjuri woman.
The range will be available from the AO Superstore on-site and online, and features striking designs that tell the story of Evonne’s life and career.
“To me, Evonne embodies sunshine. She radiates joy, goodness and hope and when people see the commemorative range, I hope they feel the warmth and positivity that Evonne radiates. Beyond celebrating her achievements, I wanted the range to honour who she is, what she stands for, her spirit and her family,” says Lyn-Al Young.
“Spending time with Evonne was a very special experience and one I feel blessed to have had. The connection we had was beyond what you’d normally have in a professional context; it was a cultural, spiritual and family connection, and a really beautiful relationship has come out of it.”
Young’s stunning designs will also be featured in a large-scale mural on the steps from Garden Square between RLA and MCA, one of the most prominent meeting spots at the Australian Open. The artwork will feature the quote “Have a lovely day”, which Goolagong Cawley fondly recalls as her mum Melinda’s favourite saying.
“Every day when I left home, regardless of where I was travelling, or the size or level of the tournament I was playing, Mum would always say “Have a lovely day,” Goolagong Cawley recalls. The iconic quote will be featured throughout the precinct and in the specially designed merchandise range.
Goolagong Cawley has also been selected as the Australian legend to be featured on the AO 2024 coin, which will be tossed before each match at the Australian Open and throughout the Summer of Tennis.
Goolagong Cawley, along with many children involved in the Evonne Goolagong Foundation, will participate in First Nations Day, to be held on Wednesday 17 January.
A true champion of the game, following her AO 1974 title Goolagong Cawley went on to be the Australian Open women’s champion in both singles and doubles for the next three consecutive years, after also winning doubles in 1971.
Over the course of her career, Goolagong Cawley won seven Grand Slam singles titles, six women’s double titles and one mixed doubles title, making her one of the most successful players in the history of the game.
In addition to her incredible legacy as a player, Goolagong Cawley is renowned for her work running the Goolagong National Development Camp and Evonne Goolagong Foundation, which uses tennis as a vehicle to promote better health, education and employment for young Indigenous people.
Goolagong Cawley was awarded Australian of the Year in 1971, appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1972 and made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1982. In 1985 she was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. In 1988 Goolagong Cawley was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and was one of early inductees into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame, where a bronze bust in her likeness was installed in 1994.
In 2018, she was advanced to a Companion of the Order of Australia “for eminent service to tennis as a player at the national and international level, as an ambassador, supporter and advocate for the health, education and wellbeing of young Indigenous people through participation in sport and as a role model.”
She was presented with her medal by the Governor General on Rod Laver Arena prior to the Australian Open women’s singles final.
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