Vivian Erzerum Bede "Viv" McGrath (17 February 1916 – 9 April 1978) was an Australian tennis champion of the 1930s. Along with John Bromwich, he was one of the first great players to use a two-handed backhand. His name was pronounced "McGraw".


He was born in Merrendee, near Mudgee, New South Wales, the fourth child of native Australian parents. His father was a hotelkeeper. He went to Sydney Boys High School, graduating in 1932, [3] where he played tennis and cricket. He began playing tennis against a brick walk at his home. [10]

He won the Australian junior singles in 1932 and the French junior singles in 1933. He was a member of the Australian Davis Cup team from 1933 to 1937. He won the Australian Open doubles championship with his friend Jack Crawford in 1935. In 1937, he won the Australian Open singles title against John Bromwich. McGrath was ranked World No. 8 in 1935 by A. Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph.

World War II interrupted his career, and he served in the Air Force. He was granted leave to play exhibition games against American servicemen.

After the War, he never regained his form and was plagued by injuries. He eventually became a coach in the southern highlands and pursued his interest in horse racing. He died in Burradoo, New South Wales of heart disease.

Grand Slam finals

Singles: (1 title)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Winner 1937 Australian Championships Grass John Bromwich 6–3, 1–6, 6–0, 2–6, 6–1

Doubles: (1 title, 5 runners-up)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1933 French Championships Clay Adrian Quist Pat Hughes
Fred Perry
2–6, 4–6, 6–2, 5–7
Runner-up 1934 French Championships Clay Jack Crawford Jean Borotra
Jacques Brugnon
9–11, 3–6, 6–2, 6–4, 7–9
Winner 1935 Australian Championships Grass Jack Crawford Patrick Hughes
Fred Perry
6–4, 8–6, 6–2
Runner-up 1935 French Championships Clay Donald Turnbull Jack Crawford
Adrian Quist
1–6, 4–6, 2–6
Runner-up 1936 Australian Championships Grass Jack Crawford Adrian Quist
Donald Turnbull
8–6, 2–6, 1–6, 6–3, 2–6
Runner-up 1940 Australian Championships Grass Jack Crawford John Bromwich
Adrian Quist
3–5, 5–7, 1–6