Originally Posted by Mustard
So who would you give it too, then? Rios, Rafter, Moya and Corretja weren't quite good enough to get the year end number 1 ranking that year. Sampras had the best results overall than any other player, even if it was very close.
I would probably give the year to Rafter like FedericRoma83. Sure he was weak at the first 3 slams of the year, but he he had the best title haul that year, 1 slam, 2 super 9 titles and 3 other titles, while Sampras won 1 slam, 0 super 9 titles and 3 other titles. Plus in close comparisons like these we might as well as throw in Rafter's 2-0 h2h advantage over Sampras that year. Still he is not exactly a convincing 'player of the year' either.
Just 4 titles won, with only one of those 4 titles being a genuinely big one, is not enough to give Sampras the year IMO.
Maybe 1998 can be a tie between Rafter/Sampras. I think certainly since the creation of the ATP computer ranking in 1973, Sampras in 1998 was probably the worst tennis played by an official year end no. 1 throughout the year. Even though Connors was clearly not as good as Vilas or Borg in 1977, and McEnroe was clearly not as good as Connors or Lendl in 1982 etc, they both displayed a much higher standard of tennis in those years IMO. Sampras's played much better tennis in 1999 when he finished as the year end no. 3 (of course he probably would have finished at no. 2 ahead of Kafelnikov had he not missed the Aussie and US Opens) than he did in 1998.