She is the only mother to have won the Wimbledon title since before World War I. Married to Roger Cawley in 1975, she had a daughter in 1977. She won the 1980 Wimbledon title.
Goolagong reached four consecutive U.S. Open finals, but lost them all. She is the only player in the open era of the event to have lost four consecutive finals, and the only woman to do so in U.S. championships history. Goolagong made seven consecutive finals at the Australian Open, winning four titles in a row, both records for the open era, although she did not compete in the January 1977 event. Despite reaching the final at her first two appearances in 1971 and 1972, after 1973 Goolagong did not compete at the French Open championships for a decade. She returned in 1983 for her final Grand Slam singles appearance. She lost in the last thirty-two to Chris Evert and did not compete in any further Grand Slam singles events. Her last appearance at Grand Slam level came at the following 1983 Wimbledon Championship when she partnered Sue Barker to a first round defeat in the doubles, having withdrawn from the singles event earlier.
The National Museum of Australia holds the Evonne Goolagong Cawley collection of memorabilia. This includes Evonne's 1971 and 1980 Wimbledon singles trophies, the trophy from her 1974 doubles win, and two racquets used in these tournaments. The museum's collection also includes a signed warm-up jacket, and a dress with a bolero style top, designed by Teddy Tinling in the early 1970s.
Goolagong was ranked number one in the world for two weeks in 1976, though it was not reported at the time because incomplete data were used to calculate the rankings. This was discovered in December 2007, 31 years later. She was the 16th woman to hold the top spot.
Goolagong was a member of the Board of the Australian Sports Commission from 1995 to 1997 and since 1997 has held the position of Sports Ambassador to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities. Goolagong was appointed captain of the Australian Fed Cup team in 2002. In 2003, she was winner for the Oceania region of the International Olympic Committee's 2003 Women and Sports Trophy. Goolagong also runs an annual "Goolagong National Development Camp", with the aim of facilitating Aboriginal children playing competitive tennis.
Goolagong was awarded Australian of the Year in 1971. Goolagong was awarded an MBE in 1972 and made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1982. In 1988, Goolagong was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
In 1972, she played in a segregated South African tournament. To spare her the discrimination experienced by non-whites, the South African authorities classified her as an honorary white.