Originally Posted by krosero
Nice comparison of the two years. I actually hadn't noticed that Connors and Lendl had roughly the same achievements in '83 compared to what they did in '84, if you just switch their names.
And actually in GS results, Lendl's achievements in '83 were stronger than Connors' in '84.
Lendl was runner-up in 2 GS events in '83. Connors reached only 1 GS final in '84.
Lendl in '84 had 1 GS victory and 1 runner-up showing. Connors in '83 had 1 GS victory, but no other GS finals reached.
Yet Connors is ranked ahead of Lendl in '83 -- which I think is right. For the same reasons it seems right to rank Connors behind Lendl in '84.
Yes 1983 was a very good year for Lendl despite the fact that he didn't win a blue chip title. He was also the losing finalist to McEnroe at both Dallas and the Masters that year. So he reached 4 finals, 1 semi-final (at Wimbledon) and 1 quarter-final (at Roland Garros) at the 6 biggest events of the year.
Plus he had big title wins at Milan (one of the biggest and richest indoor events on the circuit at the time), Montreal and Tokyo (indoor). McEnroe turned their rivalry around from 1981-1982 and owned him that year with big wins over him at Philadelphia, Dallas, Wimbledon and MSG. That Dallas final was an incredible all-time classic and arguably the best match of their rivalry, and their Wimbledon semi-final saw Mac produce one of the best grass court performances I've ever seen from any player. Still at least he wasn't shut out completely by Mac in 1983 and was able to beat him in the San Francisco final.
Despite all this I agree with the common concensus that Lendl was 'only' the 4th best player that year, behind McEnroe, Wilander and Connors.
As far as the 1983-1984 comparison goes, I also agree with you that Lendl's 1983 was better than Connors' 1984, and that Lendl's 1984 was better than Connor's 1983.