Originally Posted by Gizo
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.
Connors won a whopping 9 non-sanctioned events in 1983 (including the Toronto Molson Challenge and Suntory Cup). I think that's one more reason to keep him ahead of Lendl for the year, despite Lendl's impressive achievements on the tour in general. Lendl didn't win any of the 4 Slams, or the Masters or Dallas, and I agree with you that that's a key.
It's funny, how Lendl and Connors really swapped places in 1983-84. If you remember upthread I posted Lendl's record in '84: only 3 official titles, but 5 wins in non-sanctioned events. Basically Connors did the same in '83: 4 official titles, 9 non-sanctioned wins.
Lendl in '83, and Connors in '84, each won only 1 non-sanctioned event. But it was the same event, and a big one: the Challenge of Champions at Rosemont.