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Vitas Gerulaitis

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Vitas Gerulaitis Empty Vitas Gerulaitis

Post by laverfan Wed 17 Sep 2014, 4:24 pm

Dashing and daring, Gerulaitis was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Lithuanian immigrants. He was the sport’s ultimate jetsetter in the late 1970s, adored by a legion of female fans, who screamed, “Take me home!” after his matches. He was also an intense competitor to his closest rivals, Connors, Guillermo Vilas, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, who became good friends. During a golden era for men’s tennis, he rose to a career-high No. 3 and was ranked inside the Top 10 for seven straight years until 1983.

Many have tried to copy, but never came close to this dashing blond...

To this day, the tennis world is quick to recall his quip after beating Jimmy Connors in the semi-finals of the January 1980 Masters. Although Gerulaitis had won their first meeting indoors at New York in 1972, Connors had gone on to claim their next 16 matches. At the press conference, a reporter asked Gerulaitis how he had finally managed to beat Connors after losing 16 in a row. Gerulaitis grinned and said, "And let that be a lesson to you all. Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row." Veteran tennis writer Steve Flink, who was present, remembers, “The room erupted with laughter. He said it genially and everyone got a big kick out of it.”

A fantastic player, taken away by a tragedy. Sad

Long live Tennis!


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Post by temporary21 Wed 17 Sep 2014, 4:27 pm

I remember reading Johnny Macs book about him, the day he died he was set to do an exho with Michael Chang, noting he was long retired at this point. He felt so numb that nothing mattered, that it was the best he played in a ling time, and beat chang easily.


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Post by lags72 Wed 17 Sep 2014, 6:19 pm

Many thanks for the reminder laverfan thumbsup

Without doubt, one of the game's real "characters". Badly missed, taken from us all far too soon.

Afraid to say I'm ancient enough to just about remember one of his best-ever matches - the epic semi-final v Borg at Wimbledon, soooo close.......

And of course Vitas broke British hearts in beating John Lloyd (another five-setter IIRC ....) when Lloyd had his career-best moment in the sun, getting to the final of the Aussie Open.

That famous, self-deprecating, quote remains IMHO the most memorable ever by ANY player. It has of course been re-cycled many times since - most recently in the case of the never-say-die Lleyton Hewitt who went for more than six long years without scoring a win over his nemesis, a certain R.Federer (including, sadly for Hewitt fans, several Slam meetings)


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