Originally Posted by jrepac
Does anyone have their respective 1984 winning percentages? I do wonder how close they were on that particular metric. Sure, 1 RG has a lot more prestige than 5 smaller tourneys, that's true. But, over the course of the year, wins are wins in the ATP ranking system. I also agree that vs. top 3, Connors did not have a very good year...Lendl was the only one he beat....losing to Wilander twice late in the season and to Mac 6 times over. These are all truths. If he had pulled off a Wimby or USO victory, I think the POV would be quite different, but that just was not in the cards.
Connors's overall win-loss record was significantly better than Lendl's that year actually, 74-14 for Connors across 18 tournaments, as opposed to 62-16 for Lendl across 16 tournaments. So that is a plus point in Connors favour.
The thing to remember though it that it's not just 1 RG title for Lendl vs 5 smaller titles for Connors. It's 1 RG title plus 2 smaller titles vs 5 smaller titles. Lendl's second best title in 1984, Wembley (where he beat Connors in the semis), was just as big as Connors's best title that year, Tokyo (where he beat Lendl in the final). 2 extra smaller titles for Connors is not a hugely significant gap. If Connors had a Dallas or Masters title then I could see there being a case for him, but not without a title at any of the 5-6 biggest events of the year.
As krosero mentioned, 1983 was almost a role-reversal of 1984 between Lendl and Connors. That year Lendl finished the year at no. 2, and Connors at no. 3. Connors won 4 official titles including the US Open. Lendl won 7 titles but none of them came at the majors, Masters or WCT finals. Lendl also had 21 more official match wins than Connors that year. Surely though most people would say that Connors had a better year than Lendl in 1983, and the opposite was true in 1984.
Then again bringing their non-sanctioned titles in the discussion, that further strengthens the case for Lendl as krosero has said, with 5 titles for Lendl including the ECC in Antwerp, the Molson Challenge in Canada and the Suntory Cup in Tokyo to 1 for Connors (although that was a very important one at the Challenge of Champions in Rosemont).
Still incredible for Connors to be so strong and so consistent at the age of 31/32.