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Ashleigh Barty pays homage to legend Goolagong on Wimbledon anniversary
This year marks 50 years since Evonne Goolagong won Wimbledon in 1971, and the world No. 1 plans to pay tribute to her compatriot with her on-court kit.
Published Jun 24, 2021
Ashleigh Barty typically lets her racquet do the talking, but the Aussie unveiled an outfit that will speak volumes when she wears it at the All England Club.
Barty debuted pictures of her Wimbledon whites on Thursday and revealed the Fila design is a homage to countrywoman and fellow No. 1 Evonne Goolagong.
“I hope I can make you proud, Evonne,” wrote the 25-year-old.
Both Barty and Goolagong share Aboriginal ancestry, and both won their maiden major titles at Roland Garros. Goolagong went on to win seven major titles: four at her home Australian Open, and two at Wimbledon.
“I first met Evonne, I would have been 13 or 14,” Barty recalled last month in Paris.
“I think for her to be able to share knowledge with me from such a young age was incredible, and to open my eyes to understand her career better. When I began to understand her as a person more, it kind of made it even more special. I'm forever grateful that she's opened up to me and has been so extremely generous with her time and her knowledge and her thoughts.
“Her and Roger are incredible people. It always lights up my face when I get to talk about them and when I get messages from them, just knowing that they're just in my corner, which is really special, to have a legend like Evonne as a tennis player, but to have her as a friend and genuinely know that she cares for me as a person is kind of all that I can really ask for and dream of.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of her 1971 Channel Slam, or Roland Garros-Wimbledon double.
“It's so hard to put into words how much of an impact Evonne has made, in not only the culture of tennis in Australia but the culture and attitude and, I think the way really that people approach their tennis and enjoy their tennis.
“Her elegance and her grace on the court was next to none. It was just remarkable. I think as a person, the way she's helped shape and guide a whole generation of Indigenous youth and the young boys and girls around Australia has been incredible.
“I think when you have these anniversaries like this, you can reminisce a little bit and understand how much of an impact they genuinely had. Evonne, for me, is the perfect example of that. I don't think there's anyone more iconic or more special in tennis in Australia that's had such an impact.”
Barty retired from the second round of Roland Garros with a hip injury and will aim to better the fourth-round finish she earned at Wimbledon in 2019.