Definitions

okker

Tom Okker

Tom Okker (born February 22 1944), nicknamed The Flying Dutchman and Tom the Twitch, is a former Dutch tennis player. He was ranked among the world's top 10 singles players for seven consecutive years, 1968 through 1974, reaching a career high of World No. 3 in 1969. He also was ranked World No. 1 in doubles in 1969.

Tennis career

Okker was the Dutch champion from 1964 through 1968. In 1968, he turned professional and won his first important tournament in singles and doubles (with Marty Riessen) at the Italian Open. At Wimbledon, Okker reached the quarterfinals in 1968 and the semifinals in 1978. He achieved his best result in a Grand Slam tournament in 1968, when he lost the final of the U.S. Open to Arthur Ashe 14-12, 5–7, 6–3, 3–6, 6–3.

Okker won 31 singles titles. As of 2000, 20 years after his retirement, Okker’s 31 career "open tennis" singles victories (combined ATP tour, Grand Prix, and WCT tournaments) still ranked 20th all-time. Among Okker’s singles titles were the 1970 German Open and Belgian Open, 1973 Dewar Cup and Canadian Open, and 1974 WCT Rothmans. He also was the runner-up in 24 singles tournaments.

Despite his success in singles, Okker is mostly remembered for being one of the most successful men's doubles player of all time. Okker won two Grand Slam doubles titles, the U.S. Open in 1976 (with Riessen) and the French Open (with John Newcombe) in 1973. In total, Okker won 78 doubles events, a record that was finally broken by Todd Woodbridge in 2005. Okker’s other doubles titles include: 1973 Italian Open; 1973 London Grass Courts (with Riessen); 1973 Spanish Open (with Ilie Nastase); 1975 Opel International (with Arthur Ashe); and 1978 WCT World Doubles (with Wojtek Fibak).

One of the first tennis professionals to win at least U.S. $1 million in career prize money, Okker's WTC career earnings stood at U.S. $1,257,200 when he retired in 1980.

Davis Cup

Between 1964 and 1981, Okker represented The Netherlands in Davis Cup play, where he was 15-20.

Maccabiah Games

In 1965 Okker won both the singles and the mixed doubles titles at the Maccabiah Games in Israel.

Style of play

Okker was a fan favorite with his animated, quick-footed play. He was a slight but canny player who often defeated larger, more powerful opponents.

Grand Slam singles final

Runner-up (1)

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
1968 U.S. Open Arthur Ashe 14–12, 5–7, 6–3, 3–6, 6–3

Open era singles finals

Titles (22)

No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
1. 1969 Rome, Italy Clay Bob Hewitt 10–8, 6–8, 6–1, 1–6, 6–0
2. 1969 Monte Carlo, Monaco Clay John Newcombe 8–10, 6–1, 7–5, 6–3
3. 1969 Hilversum, Netherlands Hard Tom Gorman 6–3, 4–6, 7–6
4. 1969 Paris Indoor, France Carpet Earl Butch Buchholz 8–6, 6–2, 6–1
5. 1970 Hilversum, Netherlands Hard Roger Taylor 4–6, 6–0, 6–1, 6–3
6. 1970 Hamburg, Germany Clay Ilie Năstase 4–6, 6–3, 6–3, 6–4
7. 1971 Louisville WCT, U.S. Clay Cliff Drysdale 3–6, 6–4, 6–1
8. 1971 Quebec WCT, Canada Indoor Rod Laver 6–3, 7–6, 6–7, 6–4
9. 1972 Chicago WCT, U.S. Carpet Arthur Ashe 4–6, 6–2, 6–3
10. 1973 Washington WCT, U.S. Carpet Arthur Ashe 6–3, 6–7, 7–6
11. 1973 Hilversum, Netherlands Clay Andrés Gimeno 2–6, 6–4, 6–4, 6–7, 6–3
12. 1973 Montreal, Canada Hard Manuel Orantes 6–3, 6–2, 6–1
13. 1973 Seattle, U.S. Other John Alexander 7–5, 6–4
14. 1973 Chicago, U.S. Carpet John Newcombe 3–6, 7–6, 6–3
15. 1973 Madrid, Spain Clay Jaime Fillol 4–6, 6–3, 6–3, 7–5
16. 1973 London, United Kingdom Carpet Ilie Năstase 6–3, 6–4
17. 1974 Toronto WCT, Canada Carpet Ilie Năstase 6–3, 6–4
18. 1974 Rotterdam, Netherlands Carpet Tom Gorman 4–6, 7–6, 6–1
19. 1975 Nottingham, United Kingdom Grass Tony Roche 6–1, 3–6, 6–3
20. 1975 Paris Indoor, France Hard (i) Arthur Ashe 6–3, 2–6, 6–3, 3–6, 6–4
21. 1977 Richmond WCT, U.S. Carpet Vitas Gerulaitis 3–6, 6–3, 6–4
22. 1979 Tel-Aviv, Israel Hard Per Hjertquist 6–4, 6–3

Runner-ups (23)

No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
1. 1968 Gstaad, Switzerland Clay Cliff Drysdale 6–3, 6–3, 6–0
2. 1968 U.S. Open, New York City Grass Arthur Ashe 14–12, 5–7, 6–3, 3–6, 6–3
3. 1969 Gstaad, Switzerland Clay Roy Emerson 6–1, 12–14, 6–4, 6–4
4. 1969 Hamburg, Germany Clay Tony Roche 6–1, 5–7, 7–5, 8–6
5. 1970 Gstaad, Switzerland Clay Tony Roche 7–5, 7–5, 6–3
6. 1971 Monte Carlo, Monaco Clay Ilie Năstase 3–6, 8–6, 6–1, 6–1
7. 1971 Gstaad, Switzerland Clay John Newcombe 6–2, 5–7, 1–6, 7–5, 6–3
8. 1971 Montreal, Canada Clay John Newcombe 7–6, 3–6, 6–2, 7–6
9. 1971 Toronto WCT, Canada Carpet John Newcombe 7–6, 3–6, 6–2, 7–6
10. 1971 Vancouver WCT, Canada Outdoor Ken Rosewall 6–2, 6–2, 6–4
11. 1972 Boston WCT, U.S. Hard Robert Lutz 6–4, 2–6, 6–4, 6–4
12. 1972 Stockholm, Sweden Hard (i) Stan Smith 6–4, 6–3
13. 1972 Rotterdam WCT, Netherlands Carpet Arthur Ashe 3–6, 6–2, 6–1
14. 1973 Washington D.C., U.S. Clay Arthur Ashe 6–4, 6–2
15. 1973 Los Angeles, U.S. Hard Jimmy Connors 7–5, 7–6
16. 1973 Masters, Boston Carpet Ilie Năstase 6–3, 7–5, 4–6, 6–3
17. 1974 Washington WCT, U.S. Carpet Ilie Năstase 6–3, 6–3
18. 1974 Boston, U.S. Clay Björn Borg 7–6, 6–1, 6–1
19. 1974 Stockholm, Sweden Hard (i) Arthur Ashe 6–2, 6–2
20. 1975 Rotterdam WCT, Netherlands Carpet Arthur Ashe 3–6, 6–2, 6–4
21. 1975 Johannesburg WCT, South Africa Hard Buster Mottram 6–4, 6–2
22. 1975 Stockholm WCT, Sweden Carpet Arthur Ashe 6–4, 6–2
23. 1978 Hilversum, Netherlands Clay Balázs Taróczy 2–6, 6–1, 6–2, 6–4

International Jewish Hall of Fame

Okker, who is Jewish, was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.

Miscellaneous

Although officially retired, Okker continues to play in senior tennis tournaments, and owns an art gallery in Hazerswoude-Dorp, Netherlands.

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