Vitas Gerulaitis: The Charismatic Playboy of Tennis

Article • 6 min read


The world of tennis has been graced by many extraordinary players, but few have captured the hearts of fans quite like Vitas Gerulaitis. Known for his flamboyant style, magnetic personality, and exceptional talent on the court, Gerulaitis was a true icon of the sport. This article takes you on a journey through the life and career of the charismatic playboy of tennis.

Early Life and Tennis Beginnings

Born on July 26, 1954, in Brooklyn, New York, Vitas Gerulaitis was the son of Lithuanian immigrants. From a young age, Gerulaitis showed a natural aptitude for tennis, and by the time he was a teenager, he was already making a name for himself on the junior circuit. After honing his skills under the tutelage of renowned coach Harry Hopman, Gerulaitis quickly rose through the ranks and turned professional in 1971.

On-Court Success

Vitas Gerulaitis’ playing style was characterized by his aggressive serve-and-volley tactics and remarkable athleticism. His breakthrough year came in 1977 when he reached the Wimbledon semifinals and won the Australian Open, defeating John Lloyd in a thrilling five-set match. Gerulaitis would go on to reach the finals of the French Open in 1980 and the US Open in 1979, narrowly missing out on the titles. Throughout his career, he amassed 25 singles titles and achieved a career-high ranking of World No. 3 in 1978.