Tennis fans are weird in that aspect.
Kimi was in top 3 for the WDC for most of the season without having won a single race. In theory, a driver could win the WDC without winning a single race. I've never read a F1 comment, that Kimi didn't deserved to be near the top.
In football, a club can win the league, even when losing to those finishing 2, 3 and 4. That clubs supporters would still order the open top bus and celebrate in the streets of that city.
Chelsea has displayed some of the most cowardly and defensive football ever played, yet their supporters are not bothered and celebrates the smart tactic.
I could continue with a lot of other sports too, but my point should be made.
The one stand-alone sport is tennis. If you do not play an extreme high risk style, with all guns blazing and every ball do-or-die, you're a fokking pusher and deserves to be run over by a bus. And only a win at the 4 * 2 weeks a year, where there is a slam, counts. Everything else is irrelevant.
Your comment about Chelsea leads me to believe that you are hardly in a minority in your low opinion of their style of play,and I'll venture a guess that legends of the sport and expert commentators also rank them amongst the weakest champions in recent memory.
I don't go to blogs or fan forums for sports on which I'm fairly knowledgeable,so that's why I can't tell you how fans behave in those spots,but aye CAN tell you that tennis fans aren't totally unique as you thought.Even amongst NFL,NBA and NHL followers who conduct themselves in a mature,respectful way(distinguishing themselves clearly from the Caro-bashing inbreds at TF),there's a sort of smirk that comes across people's faces whenever certain teams,who consistently implode in the playoffs,race out to the top W/L record in the regular season.They are often viewed as soft and lacking the mental toughness to succeed in the later playoff rounds.....until they prove otherwise.
I'm merely speculating here,but I've had a chance to observe this 'unworthy #1' phenomenon,firsthand as a fan,3 times in the WTA(for the record,I don't recall JJ getting as much heat,and I suspect that was partly due to her numerous wins over each WS).The first was with Ana who,in retrospect,is an embarrassment,on SO many levels,to anyone affiliated with her...'nuff said.Then,with sweet troubled Dinara,I understood why there were so many skeptics(though I hoped,in vain,for Dinarik
to shut them up).The most damning argument against her was the way she slipped into panic mode on court,often leaving her unable to execute even a puffball 1st serve.
As for Caroline,the criticism was far less justified,but I think it would have been relatively mild if she had had more wins over legends on her resume'.There was a perception amongst less-rabid detractors(i.e.,those who spoke in a civil manner) that Caroline's rankings rise came at a time when no other elite players were playing near their best to challenge her....that she succeeded in a sort of vacuum of excellence where no one else rose to fill it.We'll never know,of course,but I think that,if Caro had had at least 3 wins over Henin,each WS,and Clijsters,the perception of Caro as being sub-Elite would've been highly diminished.There still would've been hateful bashers at TF due to her style of play,but no one intelligent takes those morons seriously