Sampras' 1998 Season

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by McEnroeisanartist, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. McEnroeisanartist

    McEnroeisanartist Hall of Fame

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    I just noticed how weak Sampras' 1998 season was even though he finished the year #1. He was 61-17 (78%), 4 tournament wins from 7 finals.

    Federer had 5 years (2003, 2008, 2010-2012) where he finished #2 or #3 that were better than Sampras' year.
     
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  2. Carsomyr

    Carsomyr Hall of Fame

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    The competition and his performance that year may have been weak compared to his other seasons, but he did what he had to to get number #1 and set an Open Era record. He deserves a lot of credit for attempting and successfully breaking the record.
     
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  3. Carsomyr

    Carsomyr Hall of Fame

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    I also wouldn't call a season where Federer went without a major superior to a season where Sampras did. Obviously, there are factors to consider other than majors, but Federer's 2011 was hardly better than Sampras' 1998 by any stretch of the imagination.
     
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  4. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

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    It's not a coincidence that during the late 90s Kafelnikov, Rios, Rafter and Moya were considered a weak #1. These players would never be #1 in Roger's era.

    I find it funny that Sampras fans even try to counter the weak/strong argument when it's clear that Sampras had a weaker field.
     
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  5. McEnroeisanartist

    McEnroeisanartist Hall of Fame

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    Yes, I would give you that. Okay Federer clearly had 4 seasons better than Sampras' 1998 Season where was number 2 then. 2003, 2008, 2010, and 2012.
     
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  6. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    After McEnroe's 1982, I think that Sampras's 1998 is probably the weakest ever season put together by a year end no. 1 since the ATP ranking computer was created in 1973.

    I'm not even sure Sampras was the best player that year. I would probably give it to Rafter, due to his superior title haul (he won 1 slam, 2 super 9 titles and 3 other titles, as opposed to Sampras's 1 slam, 0 super 9 titles and 3 other titles). Plus he beat Sampras in both their matches that year, their Cincinnati final and US Open semi-final.

    Had Rios won his Australian Open final against Korda and not played so pathetically, then 1998 would have been his year.

    Sampras played subpar tennis for most of that season. Ivanisevic really should have beaten him in the Wimbledon final I felt. His best tennis probably came when he won the Vienna title during his gruelling European indoor season, especially his QF demolition of Henman. Of course he was lucky to be even playing at that event in the first place, as Becker donated his wildcard to him.

    If an active player did that for Federer, Nadal or Djokovic, imagine how heavily they would be criticised.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
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  7. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

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    It was a weak year by Pete's standards..But lets not kid ourselves to call the era "weak".

    When a guy can miss half the year (Nadal) and still keep a top 4 ranking.. What the hell does that say about today's era?

    Rafter being at #1 in the world isn't all that bad. He was one hell of a player in his prime (whipped on Roger more times then not) And if most guys today had to play vs. Rafter under faster conditions, they would be facing an uphill battle too
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
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  8. Carsomyr

    Carsomyr Hall of Fame

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    Sampras missed two majors in 1999 and played only one more tournament than Rafa has thus far and ended the year ranked #3.
     
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  9. NadalAgassi

    NadalAgassi Guest

    Sampras won tournaments on all surfaces in 1999, carpet, hards, grass, huge tournaments on both carpet and grass. Maybe he didnt win one on clay. Nadal not only missed half the year but didnt win a tournament outside of clay.
     
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  10. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    nadal made the finals of the AO, sampras was out in 3R of the FO .....

    W,F,2R, DNP is still by by some distance better than W,3R,DNP,DNP .....

    sampras was 40-8 in 1999 ...
    nadal 42-6 in 2012 ...

    so nadal's better there too ...

    sampras' has two things in his favour though - the YEC and one more title ....

    still that proves another fail from 90s clay aka gamesampras ....
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
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  11. abmk

    abmk G.O.A.T.

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    fed's 2003,2008,10 and 12 were/are superior to sampras' 98 and he ended them all ( will probably end 12 ) at #2 ....

    djoker's 2008 was superior to sampras' 98 as well and he ended it no 3 ....
     
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  12. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Ferrero and Agassi's 2003 seasons when they finished at world no. 3 and world no. 4 respectively were both better than Sampras's 1998 as well.
     
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  13. Gonzalito17

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    Rios should have been #1 in 98 but he botched the second half of 98 though he did win the Grand Slam Cup vs. Agassi in Munich for over a million bucks.
     
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  14. TheFifthSet

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    The field from '98-'02 wasn't something to write home about, but '90-'97 was pretty darn good competition, incredibly good actually.
     
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  15. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Rios could have regained the world no. 1 from Sampras in November 1998, had he won his home tournament at Santiago. However he lost his quarter-final against the world no. 88 Juan Antonio Marin from Costa Rica.

    It was painful seeing Rios choke year after after in Chile and fail to win his home title in 9 attempts. 7 out of his 9 defeats there came against players ranked outside the top 50, and a lot of the players who beat him in Chile never beat him anywhere else.
     
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  16. Cormorant

    Cormorant Professional

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    1998 was weak by his standards, but I imagine the mental strain of being king was wearing on him by that point. And if Agassi had bothered to play matches with a scintilla of effort in the autumn of 1995, he would have been a runaway #1 that season; unless there's some injury I'm not aware of, withstanding that to his self-esteem following the USO loss.
     
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  17. vive le beau jeu !

    vive le beau jeu ! G.O.A.T.

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    it was a big effort from him to play a long european indoor season (7 events !) to finish #1 for a 6th consecutive year... and he did it !
    too bad it ended on a disappointing note with this loss against corretja at the masters. :?

    he had to pay the price for this effort i guess, as he didn't play the AO in january 1999 (kafelnikov thanked him for that !) and had a relatively poor season until the grass swing, when he went on a good streak, winning 4 straight tournaments (beating agassi 3 times without losing a single set).
    and then... injury again (retirement vs. vince ain't afraid of ya spadea in indianapolis).

    rafter's summer in 1998 was amazing, by the way. ;)
     
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  18. Sabratha

    Sabratha G.O.A.T.

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    1998 was the start of Sampras' decline.
     
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  19. Carsomyr

    Carsomyr Hall of Fame

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    1997 was far from incredible. Rafter, the year-end world #2, only won a single title that year. The fact that Bjorkman, a doubles specialist, never finished higher than #24 at any other time in his career was in the top 5 is also telling.
     
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  20. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Hall of Fame

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    Gizo, Rios choked four finals in Chile, in the book about Rios, just came out this year, Jaime Fillol, the tourney director said Rios was up a set and 4-2 with points to go up 5-2 but blew the game and then became nervous and choked the match away. This was against David Sanchez of all people. Rios was a marvelous talent but for some odd reason he played poorly in his home country.

    You have to think the ATp and ITF powers that be did not want Rios as the face of the sport lodged in the #1 ranking. I bet that negative pressure affected Rios also in that match against Marin.
     
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  21. helloworld

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    I always felt that Sampras always felt relax because he was clearly the best player of his era. He didn't really have anyone to challenge him. That's why he didn't have to prove himself by staying at #1 all the time.
     
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  22. obsessedtennisfandisorder

    obsessedtennisfandisorder Professional

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    comparing apples and oranges a little i think.

    given the conditions and racquets/surfaces of the time.

    the tour was stratafied hugely between the slow courts like clay and
    lightning fast courts like indoor.

    this made it difficult to do well on all surfaces.

    for example 1/4 to 1/3 of the tour was racked with clay specialists like
    alex corretja or albert costa who banked big time on clay and then any
    good work off clay was a big bonus..eg corretja winning the tour finals.

    sampras
     
    #22
  23. Tagg

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    sampras in 98 was weird

    he inexplicably went out the AO meekly despite being defending champion, and was dire at indian wells and miami

    he got wimbledon, then a final at cincy, one of his best masters

    rafter was on fire, took him down in US SF, sampras got bitter

    he then played MM events (hi vienna, hi stockholm etc), to try and stop rios from getting the year end championship

    eventually rios injured himself and sampras bizarrely lost to correjita of all people, at the year end championship

    sampras says in his book that the year end no 1 was an obsession

    clearly took its toll on him, since he didn't even enter AO in 1999
     
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