Re: How strong is this era now that...
But prima donna, I don't speak of Federer as the best player in the world, I speak of him as a potential GOAT candidate. I understand that he is after decoration, not adulation.
I do not dismiss the view that Federer is declining, although I believe that reports of his decline are greatly exaggerated. He is the #2 player in the world, which makes him as a legitimate a threat as ever given his record. This notwithstanding, even during his reign at the top throughout 2004-2007, there were times when Federer was able to get away with not playing his best tennis and still win. Of course, he was also far more consistent during that period, but you don't go 92-5 or 81-4 by being consistent, you do it by being able to able to find a way to win when not at your best. With the amount of tennis being played today by top-level players, there are only so many good, or even great, days that players are allowed before they inevitably have a bad day.
So while I acknowledge that, at times, Federer may no longer be the monolith of tennis domination he once was, he is still the standard by which this generation and, by extension, this era will be judged - until one of his peers surpasses his achievements. We have to acknowledge that the players around him have gotten better, that they realised what they would have to do to improve to prevent Roger from making a mockery of competition in a sport as popular and global and competitive as tennis. So now, when Roger Federer has a bad day or rather, a below average performance, he loses - this just happens to coincide with the fact that he is having more bad days than usual, but that doesn't change the fact that during his great run, even his bad days were often sufficient to carry victory.
I think there is sufficient evidence to point us in the direction that the era of tennis we are currently witnessing is approaching its peak in overall strength.
I support: Roger Federer; Richard Gasquet; Radek Stepanek; Mario Ancic; Robin Haase; because they are cool.
I also support: The Killers; Death Cab for Cutie; My Chemical Romance; The Smashing Pumpkins; Radiohead; because they are pretty cool, as well.
"It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness of pain: of strength and freedom. The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love. The cruel beauty of nature and everlasting beauty of monotony." - Benjamin Britten.