Originally Posted by philosophicalarf
Sampras won 8 of his 14 slams in the second half of the 90s, when it's fairly obvious the competition was not at its most formidable (Carlos Moya at world number one speaks for itself). 1990-92 was extremely strong, probably the best period of all time, and he only made two finals there.
On the other hand, imo his peak Wimbledon level was so high he'd likely have won most even against stronger opponents.
Looking at Sampras' Majors from 1995-1999:
1995 Wimbledon: beat Ivanišević and Becker
1995 U.S. Open: beat (a young) Philippoussis, Todd Martin, Jim Courier, and Andre Agassi
1996 U.S. Open: beat Jiří Novák, Alexander Volkov, Philippoussis, Àlex Corretja, Ivanišević, and Michael Chang
1997 Australian Open: beat Albert Costa, Thomas Muster, and Carlos Moyà
1997 Wimbledon: beat Petr Korda, Boris Becker, and Cédric Pioline
1998 WImbledon: beat Thomas Enqvist, Philippoussis, Henman, and Ivanišević
1999 Wimbledon: beat Philippoussis (who retired in the 2nd set), Henman, and Agassi.
Besides the 1997 Australian Open, I don't see an easy Major win among Pete's second half of the '90s tally, and, even there, he had to beat 3 players who had or would win Majors (albeit all 3 at the French), 2 of whom were ranked #1. At Wimbledon '95, he beat 2 Wimbledon champions. At U.S. Open '95, he beat a U.S. Open champion and three finalists. At '96 U.S. Open, he beat 2 Major Champions and 2 Major finalists. At '97 WImbledon, he beat a 3 time Wimbledon champion. At '98 WImbledon, he beat a WImbledon champion and a Wimbledon finalist. And, at '99 Wimbledon, he beat a Wimbledon champion and a Wimbledon finalist (who got injured).