No. 1 (Ran) King & Queen
The reigns of Pete Sampras and Martina Hingis might not be over, but in 1998 there were more challengers vying for their thrones than ever before.
Both lost grip on their number one rankings in 1998. Sampras was first, relinquishing his top status to Chile's Marcelo Rios in March for the first time in 102 consecutive weeks. Although Sampras would win the title back, there was no doubt he wasn't the same player in 1998.
He won four times, including his fifth Wimbledon single's title, but he suffered through four injuries this summer and struggled against players ranked in the top 10. Rios, on the other hand, burst on to the scene, winning seven tournaments.
Other player's who saw their stock rise on the ATP Tour in 1998 were: Patrick Rafter who became the just the sixth player in history to defend a U.S. Open single's title. Peter Korda of the Czech Republic who won his first grand slam title at the Australian Open and Spain's Carlos Moya who took home the French Open title.
Andre Agassi reappeared on the scene after not being ranked in the top 100 in 1997. Agassi won five times, including the $137,000 Czech Indoor Championships.
On the WTA Tour, action was as good as it's ever been. With no one dominant player taking charge, tennis fans got to see lots of great tennis and big upsets.
Lindsay Davenport took over the No. 1 ranking from Hingis in October, becoming just the third American-born player to ever hold the title. Davenport's victory at the U.S. Open was her most impressive of the year. She did not lose a single set and beat Venus Williams in the semifinals and defending champion Hingis in the finals.
Jana Novotna's first Wimbledon title in three finals appearances was a triumph of spirit for the 11-year veteran. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario took home her third French Open title and Hingis captured her third straight Australian Open.
Monica Seles also made a noteworthy comeback in 1998. After losing her father/coach in the spring she made it to the French Open finals and has made it to the quarterfinals of nine tournaments since, winning two.
Eight different players took home Grand Slam single's titles in 1998, setting the stage for what should be a very competitive 1999 season.
AP/Wide World Photos
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