‘Sunshine super girl’ Goolagong Cawley defied prejudice to become a star

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Evonne Goolagong Cawley's tennis play began with an apple crate board

But she reached world No.1 and achieved seven Grand Slam titles in the process

As an Aborigine, though, there were issues of racism she faced in her career

CNN  — 

When Evonne Goolagong Cawley first picked up an apple crate board to hit a ball against any flat surface she could find, Wimbledon was always the dream.

The tennis-obsessed youngster would play for hours on end against a wall or a water tank, at the time thinking the tournament was merely the stuff of fairy tales.

“I read this princess magazine story,” recalls the 63-year-old seven-time Grand Slam singles winner in an interview with CNN Open Court at the Australian Open.

“One story was about this girl who trained and was taken to this place called Wimbledon where she won on this magical court.

“I didn’t know it was for real but she said ‘yes, this place exists in England’.”

From that moment henceforth, the wall or water tank was the net at the All England Club, the concrete under her feet the hallowed grass turf graced by so many past champions.

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Tennis legend rediscovers her roots
04:37 - Source: CNN

“Every time I went to sleep at night, I would dream about playing at that magical center court and every time I hit the wall I would pretend I was there.”