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Evonne Goolagong gets No. 1 ranking, 30 years late

Evonne Goolagong gets No. 1 ranking, 30 years late

Evonne Goolagong has a new addition to her trophy case, more than 30 years late.
Goolagong has been told by WTA Tour officials that she should have been ranked No. 1 for a two-week period in 1976 in the middle of winning six tournaments, including the Australian Open and the season-ending Virginia Slims Championship.
But when some tournament records were transferred to a computer in 1976, all of Goolagong's points were not entered and she was never given the top ranking, the WTA said in a release to be posted on its Web site Friday.
The WTA has now amended its records, and Goolagong becomes the 16th No. 1 since the introduction of tour computer rankings in 1975.
Two weeks ago, Goolagong, 56, received a trophy from the WTA as a reward, which now sits in her oceanside home she shares with her husband, Roger Cawley. The couple has two children, Kelly, 30, and Morgan, 26.
"I'm very proud of the achievement," Goolagong told The Associated Press. "I was on a roll for that stretch in 1976. It was a great surprise to hear after all these years."
The accolade follows a recent search of the rankings archive in St. Petersburg, Florida, which found that several paper records were missing between April and July 1976.
Rankings were calculated twice weekly until 1990 _ they are done weekly now _ and it was discovered that Goolagong overtook Chris Evert by 0.8 points after the Australian's victory in the Virginia Slims Championship in Los Angeles in late April 1976, before Evert regained the crown on May 10.
WTA Tour chief executive and chairman Larry Scott said the WTA felt it was important to recognize Goolagong's achievement.
"Unfortunately our record-keeping wasn't perfect in those early days of women's tennis and our ranking system was viewed as a means of just accepting tournament entries," Scott said.
"It wasn't until the early 1980s that the media and players started to pay attention to the changes in the rankings during the year as opposed to only the end-of-season rankings."
Goolagong reached the finals of 16 of 24 Grand Slam singles tournaments from 1971 to 1976, winning five of them. She won Wimbledon titles nine years apart _ in 1971 and 1980 _ equaling Bill Tilden's mark for having the longest gaps between championships at the All-England Club, and has seven Grand Slam singles titles overall.
Goolagong retired in 1985 and lived in the United States _ at Hilton Head, South Carolina and Naples, Florida _ until moving back to her native Australia in 1992.
Now, Goolagong is frequently seen power walking in the streets around her Sunrise Beach home north of Brisbane.
She and Cawley spend much of their time organizing tennis camps for Aboriginal youths. During next month's Australian Open, 15 young athletes from across Australia will be flown in for a camp at Box Hill outside Melbourne.


Updated : 2021-05-07 19:46 GMT+08:00