We are in the weeks of Wimbledon and, therefore, it is necessary to remember some stories that marked the history of our sport there. Like the Evonne Goolagong, one of the best tennis players of all time, former No. 1 in the world and holder of seven Grand Slam titles. Today we will talk about the last one: Wimbledon 1980. Four decades have passed since that victory, possibly the most special for the Australian. She would be the only one of the seven who won as a mother and, forty years later, she remains the only mother capable of winning Wimbledon in the Open Era. Knowing this, the story tells itself.
“When I left the track they told me that I was the first mother to win the individual title in the last 66 years. Now 40 have passed since that title and the record is still valid, ”says Evonne in a report prepared by WTA. “Only two other moms have managed to lift a Grand Slam in the Open Era, so I guess it’s not so surprising that no mom has ever won Wimbledon again. Simply, it’s not easy after having kids”, Values from experience.
The last mother to lift a Grand Slam had been Dorothea Lambert Chambers, in 1914. We are talking about a completely different era, although there is also an important gap up to the Goolagong times. In the global computation, the other two women capable of achieving this heroicity were Margaret Court and Kim Clijstersalthough neither of them got it in London. The data clearly reflects the difficulty of the challenge, placing these four great champions on a separate step from the rest.
“My dream was always to win Wimbledon, something that was fantastic to achieve in 1971. However, I also loved the experience of returning to play once I had Kelly ”, stresses the Australian, two-time champion in London with a difference of nine years between the first and second titles. “My daughter made our lives more complete, I fill them with joy. In 1980 I had to overcome two injuries, plus an illness, but Kelly really gave me the energy to want to win again. After that triumph I found a deep and permanent happiness, the kind of happiness that comes when you know that you gave the best of yourself ”, he proudly points out.
That Wimbledon was different, for many reasons. Evonne arrived after having a bad streak, with the 29 years over and a daughter of three who had become her main duty. Three seasons had passed since her last Grand Slam triumph and many had already finished their glory stage. The surprise would come at Wimbledon, defeating four top10s consecutively on their way to the throne: Hana Mandlikova (# 9), Wendy Turnbull (# 6), Tracy Austin (#2 and Chris Evert (#3). In the final, she crossed paths with Evert, who came from being runner-up the previous two years, but the third was not the defeated for the American either. For a result of 6-1 and 7-6, the Griffith native placed the icing on her tremendous fortnight at the AELTC.
“I remember the relief of seeing that little by little I was feeling better as the tournament progressed, since I came from being sick and going two months without competing. My husband joked with me saying that we were only in England because we had paid a large deposit for the rental house, “he remembers wryly. “The week before the tournament we booked the Cumberland Lawn Tennis Club grass courts and were there training daily with Vitas Gerulaitis and Bjorn Borg. There I began to feel better, I saw that he was playing well. I remember it as an edition of many rains, although in all my games the sun came out”, Maintains the one that was No. 1 in the world for two weeks.
His success would be recorded forever and to this day we are still waiting for another mother to rule at Wimbledon to accompany him on the altars. “Now it is much more common to see mothers, in different fields of life, return to their job roles after having children, even in sports. It’s challenging, complicated, a higher level of difficulty, but I think it’s great for tennis that we have so many more moms on the tour. I would love to see one of them soon, for example Serena Williams, achieving something like that forty years later. It would make the rest of the mothers, including me, feel great, “concludes Oceania.