Exactly. I'm surprised how very few people ever discussed this. They're buddies since they're young. Safin was the old Nadal to Fed, maybe more. They respect each other. They hang out together.
Fed discussed in one interview that before he won his first masters (Hamburg 2002) he was hanging out with Safin and complaining to him about the clay season. Then both of them came to Hamburg just for fun and discovered themselves in the finals.
Safin, when asked to comment about Federer once, recalled an incident when a fan asked Safin for a racket as a gift, but Safin doesn't have one with him. Federer was nearby and had a racket, and he gave it to Safin "without hesitation", which Safin said is "very generous" because players don't give away rackets lightly. I still consider that fan the luckiest tennis fan ever, to have Fed's racket gifted to him by Safin!
I like to imagine they have a great friendship. I wonder why the media never covers it. Perhaps it's because they're great rivals and have very distinct personalities. But that's what makes it beautiful.
Good luck to you both, Safin & Fed.