Congrats to Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who has been officially recognized by the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour as one of 16 women to hold the No. 1 ranking in the Open era. The distinction came over thirty years later because not all of Goolagong’s points were transferred onto computers when the rankings system debuted in 1975. Goolagong held the No. 1 spot from April 26 to May 9, 1976, after beating Chris Evert 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 at the prestigious Virginia Slims Championships in Los Angeles.
From her home in Australia, Goolagong told the SEWTA that she was delighted to receive the award. For those months in 1976, she felt she was playing the best tennis on tour. “I am happy and gratified that what I felt at the time has now been recognised officially. It’s personally very satisfying and this has been the best Christmas present.”
And Bud Collins chimes in:
“Hurrahs to the diggers who discovered that Evonne Goolagong should have been ranked No.1 during 1976, not No.2. It took a while, but never too late for justice. This fact will be noted in the next edition of my Tennis Encyclopedia in 2008.”
Nice plug, Bud! (And yes, for those factoid nuts out there, Bud will be releasing a new edition of his tennis tome in 2008.)