On This Day

Vitas Gerulaitis

Tennis Player Vitas Gerulaitis

Profession: Tennis Player

Why Famous: Vitas Gerulaitis was one of the more flamboyant players on the WCT Tour in the late 1970's and 1980's.

Blessed with frizzy blonde hair, his ranking rose to #3 after his victory in the 1977 Australian Open. He also won the rich WCT Finals in 1978 with a 3-set win over Eddie Dibbs in the Final.

Coached by Australian great Fred Stolle, Gerulaitis won 25 top-level career singles titles and 8 doubles events, including the Wimbledon doubles with Sandy Mayer in 1975.

He retired from the pro tour in 1986 and was a regular tennis commentator on the USA Network 1988-1994 prior to his accidental death in 1994.

Born: July 26, 1954
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, USA

Generation: Baby Boomer
Chinese Zodiac: Horse
Star Sign: Leo

Died: September 17, 1994 (aged 40)
Cause of Death: Carbon monoxide poisoning

Historical Events

  • 1977-12-31 Australian Open Men's Tennis: American Vitas Gerulaitis wins his first and only Grand Slam event; beats Englishman John Lloyd 6-3, 7-6, 5-7, 3-6, 6-2
  • 1979-09-09 US Open Men's Tennis: John McEnroe wins first Grand Slam title; beats fellow American Vitas Gerulaitis 7-5, 6-3, 6-3
  • 1980-01-12 Björn Borg of Sweden wins his first of 2 season-ending ATP Masters Grand Prix tennis titles outclassing American Vitas Gerulaitis 6–2, 6–2 at Madison Square Garden, NYC
  • 1980-06-08 French Open Men's Tennis: Björn Borg of Sweden wins 3rd straight French title; beats American Vitas Gerulaitis 6-4, 6-1, 6-2
  • 1982-01-17 Czech tennis star Ivan Lendl scores a 6–7, 2–6, 7–6, 6–2, 6–4 win over American Vitas Gerulaitis to claim his first of 5 ATP Masters Grand Prix titles at Madison Square Garden, NYC
  • 1983-09-09 Vitas Gerulaitis bets his house that Martina Navratilova can't beat 100th ranked male tennis player

Biographies and Sources



Famous Tennis Players