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-   -   Rosewall vs. Okker (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=420356)

Limpinhitter 04-13-2012 06:45 AM

Rosewall vs. Okker
 
I don't know if this short clip is worthy of its own thread. But, I thought it captured some fantastic shotmaking, especially Okker's vaunted "windmill" forehand.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnz4_3zobgo

pc1 04-13-2012 06:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Limpinhitter (Post 6462054)
I don't know if this short clip is worthy of its own thread. But, I thought it captured some fantastic shotmaking, especially Okker's vaunted "windmill" forehand.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnz4_3zobgo

I love both players. Okker was so gifted and talented. He was a very underrated player and was compared to Rosewall himself.

Ashe used to say that for periods of time every year, Tom Okker would become the best player in the world.

urban 04-13-2012 07:01 AM

I liked Okker very much, too. And saw him plenty of times on Dutch television, while playing the Hilversum (clay) and Rotterdam (indoors) tournaments, and as a kid live at Cologne on a WCT event. On this first WCT 20 tournament series in 1971, he finished second behind Laver but ahead of Rosewall, Ashe and Newcombe. He was very fast and a creative and flamboyant shotmaker. His topspin forehand from the wrong foot was called by non other than Fred Perry the best of his time (i think in a book on the top pro strokes by Tennis Magazine with comments by John Alexander). What he lacked was a bit of penetration on the serve and the volley - a bit like Gerulaitis later, but with a much better forehand. On that Cologne event, i saw him play doubles with Riessen against Emerson and Laver. A few times he left the two Aussies stranded at the net, when he hit those unbelievable topspin lobs over their heads. They didn't event bother to run back, because they knew this shot so well.

Limpinhitter 04-13-2012 07:02 AM

Here's another example of the Okker "windmill" forehand. Looks extremely modern, doesn't it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pS0j_...ailpage#t=647s

kiki 04-14-2012 03:25 PM

Okker lacked fighting spirit and menthal strength, but he was a very gifted player who gave the great players much much trouble.If he just had Kodes menthal strength...

Limpinhitter 04-14-2012 08:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kiki (Post 6464354)
Okker lacked fighting spirit and menthal strength, but he was a very gifted player who gave the great players much much trouble.If he just had Kodes menthal strength...

I don't know about that. I saw him come from behind to beat a very tough and determined up and comer named Mike Estep in a WCT event. Estep had all the shots and was very athletic, and younger than Okker. Yet, when it came to crunch time, Okker played like the top 5 player he was.

kiki 04-15-2012 03:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Limpinhitter (Post 6464909)
I don't know about that. I saw him come from behind to beat a very tough and determined up and comer named Mike Estep in a WCT event. Estep had all the shots and was very athletic, and younger than Okker. Yet, when it came to crunch time, Okker played like the top 5 player he was.

He just reached 2 major finals: Masters (lost to Nastase) and US Open (Ashe).He reached the semis at every other major tournament excepting Melbourne.But he never took that light but clear step that separates great players from champions.

Incidentally, I recall Estep was Navratilovaīs coach for a while, isnīt it? He teamed with that girlfriend of Martina, the writter for TEAM MARTINA

Mustard 04-15-2012 06:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kiki (Post 6465141)
He reached the semis at every other major tournament excepting Melbourne.

Tom Okker reached the semi finals of the Australian Open in 1971, losing to eventual champion, Ken Rosewall. That tournament was held in Sydney, the last year that the Australian Open was held outside Melbourne.

hoodjem 04-15-2012 06:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Limpinhitter (Post 6462054)
I don't know if this short clip is worthy of its own thread. But, I thought it captured some fantastic shotmaking, especially Okker's vaunted "windmill" forehand.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnz4_3zobgo

To me, Okker's FH looks like Nastase's or Borg's.

hoodjem 04-15-2012 06:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Limpinhitter (Post 6462089)
Here's another example of the Okker "windmill" forehand. Looks extremely modern, doesn't it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pS0j_...ailpage#t=647s

Nice. Please note how much of the court they use: great placement, serving, and touch.

Limpinhitter 04-15-2012 07:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hoodjem (Post 6465282)
To me, Okker's FH looks like Nastase's or Borg's.

Agreed, although, IMO, Okker's forehand was a bigger weapon than either Nastase's or Borg's.

pc1 04-15-2012 08:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Limpinhitter (Post 6465324)
Agreed, although, IMO, Okker's forehand was a bigger weapon than either Nastase's or Borg's.

Okker had a great forehand. It was one of the best forehands in tennis and arguably the best in his day, with Nastase and Newcombe.

I might disagree with it being a bigger weapon than late 1970's Borg. I've seen Borg hit with incredible consistent power from his forehand side. Pancho Gonzalez said when he was announcing World Invitation Tennis Classic match with Borg that Borg was the hardest hitter he had ever seen.

I was in the seats watching a Nastase-Borg match at the 1976 US Open when Nastase hit a decent second serve to Borg. Borg just moved up and blasted it on his forehand. I could barely see the ball and the crowd was shocked at the pace Borg hit it. Nastase actually somehow floated the ball back before Borg put it away.

Anyway to get back to Okker. It seems a shame to me that people have forgotten what a truly gifted player Okker was. Along with Tony Roche and some others, Tom Okker was considered to be one of the super talented young stars of tennis in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Okker won a lot of tournaments, around 60 I believe and an Italian Open. Laver himself thought very highly of Okker's talent.

But you have a great point. Okker's forehand is one of the best forehands I've seen. I tend to forget about it at times when it comes to forehands because you tend to think of top tier greats first and Okker isn't a top tier great.

pc1 04-15-2012 08:39 AM

I thought it might be fun to see Okker's head to head against top players of his time. This is from the ITF website except for against Stan Smith which I got from ATP website.

Against Rosewall
4-5
Against Laver
3-15
Against Newcombe
9-8
Against Nastase
7-10
Against Vilas
5-1
Against Ashe
9-12
Against Borg
2-9
Against Kodes
3-3
Against Roche
9-5
Against Orantes
4-3
Against Solomon
4-1
Against Dibbs
1-2
Against Gerulaitis
1-1
Against Connors
2-6
Against Richey
4-1
Against Drysdale
9-8
Against Gonzalez
4-0
Against Pannata
2-1
Against McEnroe
0-3
Against Stan Smith
6-2

Okker is negative seven against all these top players. Some of the matches were played after Okker was in decline but to be fair he played some top players like Pancho Gonzalez when Gonzalez was past his prime. Pancho Gonzalez was still very tough (top ten at times) but pass his prime. He was very competitive usually against Laver but Laver usually won but you would expect that from Laver. Take away Laver and he's above .500 against everyone.

Limpinhitter 04-15-2012 09:10 AM

Thanks, PC1. Very revealing.

kiki 04-15-2012 09:23 AM

Okker was also considered one of the foot nimble, quickest players ever.He was an excellent doubles player, having won with Ashe,Riessen,Nastase and Fibak.

pc1 04-15-2012 11:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kiki (Post 6465542)
Okker was also considered one of the foot nimble, quickest players ever.He was an excellent doubles player, having won with Ashe,Riessen,Nastase and Fibak.

I was watching a WTT all star event in which Okker and Laver teamed up. I believe Okker and Laver won 6-1. I don't remember the other doubles team. Laver played great but Okker was even better. Okker's reflexes at the net were a slight to behold. I think Okker was named MVP of that all star event. Not sure but I think so.

We always talk about great singles and doubles players. McEnroe is often mentioned as great in both but Okker deserves to be among the top also with greats like Newcombe, Roche, Rosewall, Laver, Court, BJ King, Navratilova, Nastase etc.

kiki 04-15-2012 12:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pc1 (Post 6465800)
I was watching a WTT all star event in which Okker and Laver teamed up. I believe Okker and Laver won 6-1. I don't remember the other doubles team. Laver played great but Okker was even better. Okker's reflexes at the net were a slight to behold. I think Okker was named MVP of that all star event. Not sure but I think so.

We always talk about great singles and doubles players. McEnroe is often mentioned as great in both but Okker deserves to be among the top also with greats like Newcombe, Roche, Rosewall, Laver, Court, BJ King, Navratilova, Nastase etc.

Now that you mention WTT, which was run similarly to currentīs NBA, it would be great to have a record book of , at least, finals, MVPīs and all stars.As well as conference or division team ups...maybe Mustard or Krosero can post it up...


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