Goolagong Cawley to be handed top tennis award

Evonne Goolagong Cawley in action at the1972 French Open

Evonne Goolagong Cawley will receive the International Tennis Federation's highest accolade, the Philippe Chatrier Award, for her contributions to the sport, the ITF announced on Tuesday.

The Australian will be presented with the honour at the 2018 ITF world champions dinner in Paris on June 5, during the French Open.

The award, named after the former ITF president, was introduced in 1996 and is given each year for outstanding contributions to tennis, with Billie Jean King, John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova among former recipients.

Goolagong Cawley burst on to the international stage in 1971 when she won the singles titles at Roland Garros and Wimbledon while still only 19.

A 16-year career saw Goolagong Cawley capture seven Grand Slam singles titles, including the Australian Open four times, and she reached number one in the world.

Since returning to Australia from the United States in 1991, Goolagong Cawley has worked with Tennis Australia to increase female participation in tennis and has acted in many capacities as an ambassador, advocate and role model for young indigenous Australians.

"The ITF is delighted to recognise Evonne Goolagong Cawley?s exceptional achievements as a player and the lasting legacy she has left for so many people in the years since," said ITF president David Haggerty.

"Not only is she a legendary seven-time Grand Slam singles winner but she is also a champion of diversity, who has worked tirelessly in her home country to improve the lives of many through the sport we all love.?

Evonne Goolagong Cawley in action at the1972 French Open