Novak Djokovic had an outstanding year in 2011, winning three of the four Grand Slam events, but was it among the most dominant seasons in tennis history? Was that more dominant than Roger Federer's 2006 accomplishments?
It should be understood that the phrase "most dominant" has one subtle but important difference from the word "greatest." Greatness takes into account the caliber of competition; dominance does not. Dominance measures only a player's level of superiority over the field at a given time.
In compiling our list of the 10 most dominant seasons, we considered two things primarily: a player's record over the course of a calendar year and his or her success in the Grand Slam events that year. Other factors, such as success against other top players of the era, come into play in some cases.
We decided a given player should be listed only once, which requires the determination of that player's most dominant year.
We start by noting three stars of the 1920s and 1930s who dominated their era like no other player has since. However, a paucity of statistics for that period and an inability to distinguish one particular year as their most dominant forces us to include them in a separate category.
That is followed by our top-10 list, which includes players whose dominant seasons occurred after 1935.