ATP year-end No. 1 players
Since 1973, 25 players have been able to reach the No. 1 spot for at least 1 week, as we discovered in our topic on weekly No. 1's. Only 16 of those 25 players would become the year-end No. 1 :
- our Top 10 of players : Connors, Borg, McEnroe, Lendl, Wilander, Sampras, Agassi, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic,
- 6 'lesser gods': Nastase, Courier, Edberg, Kuerten, Hewitt, Roddick.
Becker is the only player of our Grand Slam Top 10 who never was year-end No. 1, allthough he once was elected year-end No. 1 by the journalists (cfr infra).
For a chronologic graph, and more details about kings, their challengers and the lesser gods, check out our recent topic on the year-end ATP Rankings for our Top10.
1. Sampras: 6 consecutive times year-end No. 1
2. Connors : 5 consecutive times
3. Federer : 5 times, 4 consecutive
4. McEnroe : 4 consecutive times
5. Lendl : 4 times, 3 consecutive
6. Djokovic : 3 times, 2 consecutive
7. Nadal : 3 times
8. Borg, Edberg and Hewitt : 2 consecutive times
|Year||No. 1 ATP||No. 1 journalists|
Our Top 10 may be subject to discussion though as for some years the journalists elected another No. 1 than the official ATP No. 1. The journalists' No. 1 is an unofficial award that existed already before the ATP Rankings were introduced. Journalists and connaisseurs voted their No. 1 at the end of the season. 5 times, the journalists elected a different player than the ATP year-end No. 1. The table above mentions only the 'alternative' No. 1.
If we consider only the Grand Slam tournaments, the journalist's No. 1 seems justified in four years:
- In 1989, Becker won Wimbledon and the US Open, while Lendl won only the Australian Open and was defeated in the US Open final by Becker.
- In 1982 McEnroe did not win a single slam while Connors won Wimbledon (where he defeated McEnroe in the final) & the US Open.
- In 1978 Borg won Roland Garros and Wimbledon (defeating Connors in the final), and reached a 3rd Grand Slam final at the US Open where he would be defeated in the final by Connors (Jimbo's only slam title that year).
- In 1977, Vilas won Roland Garros and the US Open. Furthermore, he reached the finals at the Australian Open. Borg won Wimbledon. Connors reached finals at Wimbledon and the US Open but did not win a single slam.
The situation in 1975 is less clear. Connors reached 3 Grand Slam finals, but lost all 3 of them. Ashe won 1 Grand Slam title, but so did Borg, Newcombe and Orantes. None of the 4 Grand Slam winners reached another Grand Slam final, so Connors might as well deserve the No. 1 spot.
In 3 different years, Connors' year-end No. 1 is contested. On the other hand, the journalists elected him once when McEnroe was the official ATP year-end No. 1. Lendl's year-end No. 1 too was contested once. If we consider Vilas the strongest in 1977, and follow the journalists for 1978, 1982 and 1989, the Top 10 would be :
1. Sampras: 6 consecutive times
2. Federer : 5 times, 4 consecutive
3. Connors : 4 times, 3 consecutive
4. Lendl & Borg : 3 consecutive years
6. Mc Enroe and Djokovic : 3 years, 2 consecutive
8. Nadal : 3 years, no consecutive
9. Edberg and Hewitt : 2 consecutive years
This Top 10 might be slightly more credible than the first one, mostly for acknowledging Borg's Grand Slam domination in the late 70's. After all, Connors won most of his Grand Slam titles (6/8) before or after Borg's prime (3 in 1974, and another 3 in the 80's after Borg had retired).