Connor Mai


The Evonne Goolagong National Development Camp (GNDC) has returned to Monash after a three year hiatus due to COVID-19. 27 up and coming Indigenous players of all ages participated in the camp held at Monash University’s Clayton Campus from the 13th to the 19th of January, 2024.

With 7 Grand Slam titles under her belt, Tennis great Evonne Goolagong Cawley, alongside her husband Roger Cawley and coaching team, mentored these 27 tennis players, not only encouraging them to play competitive tennis, but to also build up their leadership skills and to work effectively within their own communities. Graduates of the GNDC have gone on to compete on the pro tour, while others have become accredited coaches or developed careers in sports administration.

Throughout the annual National camp, hosted by Team MONASH, Monash Residential Services, William Cooper Institute and Monash Sport, participants were able to experience the physical, mental and emotional requirements to reach and stay at the top of their tennis. There was also a major focus on how their continued school education, health and diet can be linked to their success.

Camp activities included fitness and recovery sessions, leadership and cultural seminars, along with a special visit to the Australian Open to be a part of First Nations Day, a major highlight of the week.

Evonne said that returning to Monash was like “coming back to family, especially since it has been going for 11 years. We're really pleased to return to Monash in 2024, after missing 3 years due to COVID. All Monash staff including Team Monash, Monash Residential Services and Monash Sport have been wonderful to work with and have been very accommodating.”

The camp returned to upgraded facilities as part of Monash University’s long term vision for sport, with the Northern Pavilion replacing the existing Soccer and Tennis Pavilion during the COVID pandemic. Evonne and her team were incredibly impressed with the new facilities saying “the new tennis pavilion and courts are amazing and the players are really enjoying these wonderful new spaces.” 

Over the course of her career, Evonne won 92 pro tournaments and was a finalist at 18 Grand Slams, including winning Wimbledon twice, the Australian open 4 times, and the French Open once. She represented Australia in the Federation Cup 7 times, winning in 1971, 1973 and 1974 and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the Aboriginal Sporting Hall of Fame in 1988 and 89 respectively. In 1972, she was appointed a member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) a decade later.

The Evonne Goolagong Foundation aims to use tennis as a gateway to promote better health, education and employment for Indigenous youth. Evonne, a proud Wiradjuri Aborigine, created the foundation after retiring from the pro tour to give Indigenous children the opportunity to be the best they can be. 

Additionally, Evonne contributed significantly to Sport in Australia, serving as a board member for the Australian Sports Commission, the National Indigenous Advisory Committee to SOCOG for the Olympics and continues to work with the federal government on Indigenous Sport, reviewing sport facilities and raising funds for facilities and equipment.

To find out more about the Goolagong National Development Camp, or the Evonne Goolagong Foundation, visit this website.