|79 Years (22 Feb, 1944)|
|Amsterdam, The Netherlands|
|Right-Handed, One-Handed Backhand|
Calling Dutch tennis player Tom Okker a history maker would be an understatement. He might not have been able to emerge victorious in a Grand Slam competition in his career, but Okker certainly came close. What makes him a history maker is the fact that he was one of the final two in one of the inaugural Grand Slams in the world today. In 1968, the US Open was first held. That year, Okker was the one that managed to reach the final. He lost the match to Arthur Ashe 14-12...Read More
Calling Dutch tennis player Tom Okker a history maker would be an understatement. He might not have been able to emerge victorious in a Grand Slam competition in his career, but Okker certainly came close. What makes him a history maker is the fact that he was one of the final two in one of the inaugural Grand Slams in the world today. In 1968, the US Open was first held. That year, Okker was the one that managed to reach the final. He lost the match to Arthur Ashe 14-12, 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 at Forest Hills, but will go down in history as the first-ever runner up at the Grand Slam.
A quick-footed player, Okker’s speed and movement on the court was extraordinary for the times. He was slick and nimble, and was eventually named ‘The Flying Dutchman’. Okker is remembered as one of the greatest tennis players to have ever come out of The Netherlands.
Despite being ranked third in the world at one point in the men’s singles category, the Dutch tennis player primarily made his name in the sport in the doubles category. The Flying Dutchman has won 68 doubles titles, including two Grand Slam victories at the French Open and the US Open. Okker was ranked first in the world in 1969 in the doubles category. This was the year when he reached the final of Wimbledon as well.
As a singles player, Okker had numerous titles. None of them was a Grand Slam but it did not take away from his greatness at all. Okker reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, and he reached the final of the US Open. He won 40 singles career titles, including a gold medal at the 1965 Maccabiah Games in Israel. The Dutch, however, did not have a particularly good time in the Davis Cup, as he recorded a career win-loss record of 15-20 in the competition.
Okker’s first tennis competition was in 1953 when he played a clay-court tournament in Wolfsburg, Germany. It only took him a year to reach the pinnacle of Dutch tennis at the time, and he retained his position for a sufficiently long time. Okker was the Dutch champion from 1964 to 1968. He was one of the greatest ever doubles players the sport has seen. The tennis star has won two doubles Grand Slams and he did it with different partners.
One of the greatest qualities of the Flying Dutchman was how well he could adapt his game to suit any doubles partner that he had. Okker was dynamic and versatile in that respect. These were the qualities that immensely helped his game whenever he went on the court in a singles game. His analytical skills were masterful to say the least, and Okker could easily change his game to gain an advantage over all kinds of opponents. The Dutchman was also one of the first tennis professionals to win at least USD 1 million in career prize money.
March 1974 saw him reach the highest point in his career as he was ranked the third-best player in the world. For a player who made his name as a doubles competitor, that indeed is an exceptional feat.
Australian Open: SF (1971)
French Open: SF (1969)
Wimbledon: SF (1978)
US Open: F (1968)
Australian Open: F (1971)
French Open: W (1973)
Wimbledon: F (1969)
US Open: W (1976)Collapse
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