Tennis - Former French Open champion Evonne Goolagong Cawley says it was "a joy to watch" Ashleigh Barty win her first ever Grand Slam singles title at Roland Garros on Saturday. Goolagong, who like Barty has indigenous roots, won the French Open in 1971 which was the first of the seven Grand Slam singles titles she won during her career.4 According to News.com.au, Goolagong commented, "What a wonderful result for Australia and how exciting that another Aboriginal has won at the French.
I'm almost scared to say it but it's now 48 years ago I won my first Slam there, too. Tennis Australia and lovers of tennis here and around the world will be delighted by the natural skills and flair Ash possesses. Now they have developed into a beautiful game full of artistry, movement and power.
It was there for all to marvel at in Paris. She is a joy to watch." Goolagong Cawley, who has been in close contact with Barty over the past few years, said she had congratulated Barty on her win, "Ash has already heard from me and knows how happy I am for her and her lovely family."
Cawley has said that she enjoys watching Barty play. "I sort of felt for every stroke out there tonight. Sliced backhands, great hands, she really has, yeah fantastic. That was something I enjoyed during my career was a sliced backhand so every time I saw her do that I thought, oh that must have felt good.
She’s amazing and I think she can go all the way”. Barty's win moves her to No. 2 in the world rankings, which is the highest for any Australian woman since Goolagong Cawley was No. 1 in April 1976 and she would have a chance to become World No.
1 in the coming weeks as she heads to Wimbledon as one of the hot favourites for the title. Barty would be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Cawley, who ended her career with seven Grand Slam singles titles and 82 singles titles, Cawley was awarded an MBE and an AO, Cawley was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and the International Tennis Hall of Fame.