Berdych made a slam final beating Federer along the way, plus he's a better/more talented player.
What about Robredo and Blake in top 5? Shuttler in slam final? Roddick in multiple slam finals? Guys who are supposedly talented ballstrikers such as Nalbandian and Baldenko have a single GS final between them despite being top 3 players. Hewitt's USO 2006 performance? Headcase playboy Safin?
Really, if you take a close look you'll quickly find that some Olderer fans are instantly bringing up teenage Nadal's losses, mostly in best of 3 events as their "argument" - which is completely irrelevant, considering he was a CC specialist during Olderer's prime and was prone to defeats off clay.
I have to ask again, did Olderer have REAL rivals off clay before late 2007? And by rival I mean someone who could beat him on GS stage semi regularly?
Baldenko still has winning record against Rafa, roddick retired with a winning record against Djokovic. Blake, mugzalez kicked Rafa's ass, and I'm not buying your "he was just a teen back then" (which btw he wasn't when he was straight-setted by mugzalez). Rafa has been a grand slam champion since 2005, if the field was so weak and with his record against Fed, he should have won calendar grand slams from 2005 to 2007, which he didn't and got his ass kicked in gs quarterfinals in the supposed "weak era".
the surface specialist argument can work both ways: if Rafa was a cc specialist during Fed's prime, you can also say Nadal won the majority of his RG titles playing against a fast court specialist, which makes this one the weakest clay era ever.
Also, your strong/Spartan era claims have definitely failed when a 31 y.o. past-prime Daddy Olderer got his #1 ranking back when his "Spartan rivals" are in their prime.