In 1996, Sampras lost Round 3 of the AO, lost 3rd round of Indian Wells, semis of Key Biscayne, semis of FO, quarters of Wimbledon, quarters of Cincinnati, and won relatively small titles at Indianapolis, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Memphis and San Jose.
He went on to win USOpen and the TMC.
Was everyone shooting him down at this point back then too? Just curious.
Because he came back strong for another 7 titles after this point. He was 26.
We'll see how the rest of the season unfolds and what it bades for the upcoming year. Go ahead, mark him dead if you want. I personally wouldn't put money on him not making it back to the top. If we thought this year was the least points he had to defend in a while, next years a joke comparatively.