Ok but again, this is not comparable to Federer's era without Federer. There was Hewitt first, then Roddick, then Nadal, all dominating the top position. So it's a bad analogy, plain and simple. Furthermore losing 10 times in a row probably affects one's confidence, right? We have no idea how those players end up, how their careers change, if they can shine or not, minus Federer.
it isnt comparable to federer's era. its even worse.
losing 10 times in a row does affect one's confidence, but thats the same argument u can use with players not belonging to top 4 these days. they lose confidence just looking at the draw. it doesnt meant anything really except all of them are beaten and have failed to get out of that situation. beside, how do you explain that the player who's had most losses to fed didnt let it affect him (roddick). he was there, over and over again ready to take the next beating - but he didnt falter, he was there. nalbandian? he wasnt in that situation, but how come he hasnt reached a single slam final after that one at wimbledon? or safin, why couldnt he make more of his career? whatever it was, roddick example shows losing doesnt have to have any influence. (not saying it didnt per se, but in principle).
Once again, competition does not = strength, or weakness of an era. 2001/02/03 was highly competitive, but no one was truly great. In the mid to late 60's Laver was dominating everything, nor does that mean that era was particularly weak.
all you need is bunch of great players competing at the same time. 'great' as in slam winners who have, or are occupying top positions for a while. this combination happens extremely rarely. before present, only borg/mac/connors era comes close, although it can be argued that era was even strogner (connors was year end top 3 for 12 years). today, granted, murray is not exactly a great player, but he is incredibly consistent (only lost to novak and rafa at slams this year), that he easily > every other player except top 3, and the rankings have shown that for 4 years. it means if he is better than the rest, and he isnt better than top 3, than how good are those top 3? and than you look at those top 3, and you find a guy with 16 slams, a guy with 10 slams who's just won 3 slams last year, and you find a guy whos been incredible entire year. thats the most a quality individuals we've had compressed in a single time frame, its no wonder sampras and the rest are leaving their jaws dropped.
The fact that you cannot see it's a combination of factors is truly staggering. You choose to believe everything is down strictly to one player's changes and nothing else matters well, frankly, that's your prerogative. You said it earlier yourself: there are two players on the court at any given time, right?
now you're being absolute. of course it is a combination of factors, but one player playing 100s of matches, his position on the ranking can simply not be explained with those 100s of players he played. yes, it takes two players in a single match, but in all those matches, one of the players taking part is the SAME player. if I start at postition 100, end in a year end up ranked, say, no 5. - how on earth have those 50 freaking players Ive played over that period outweigh how I've played.
if we were talking about some flash in the pan situation, where a player rose 20 places in ranking over 2 months, than, maybe, it can turn out it was cause those guys he played have collectively gotten in a funk. or in another example, if a player occupies top spot for a while cause nobody talented enough was there... than it can be said maybe it was because 'rest' of them sucked - but we're talking about years of domination here.
beside, if it is all subjective, than I guess a dilemma whether fed 'beat' those clowns, or they've simply 'sucked' is a matter of subjective opinion. it aint
- fed was better than them, as top 4 are better than the rest, today. years of domination put all subjectivity out of the window. that fed fans dont see that, is amazing, albeit not surprising at all
Did you even watch the '06 final? Calling that a choke is laughable. Same for Murray. Novak, I'll give you, he played very, very tight in that final, neither did Federer really play at a particularly high level. "Entertaining" matches are fun, of course, but don't always indicate such an incredible omg level of play. A lot of these 5-set matches Federer is playing now would probably be straights 5 years ago. Bigger battle? Yes. Higher level of play? No.
first time slam finalist is a gift from heaven for any slam champ to have in a slam final. dont get me wrong, as a novak fan Id be more than happy he gets some journeyman in a slam final tomorrow, but it wont really be a trademark of a great/strong era. gonzo? a strong era? cmon.
level of play that one good player displays can hardly be the same if hes playing a clown or another good player. thats why its tough using that as an indication of how 'strong' or 'great' any era was. as I see it, only when two greats meet, there is a chance they will be that confident to not let the other guy's level of play affect them. thats why we've seen so many epic matches these past few years: W 07, W 08, AO 09, W 09 (arguably roddicks best performance), FO semis this year, USO semis and finals... we havent had those type of matches in weak era.
now, only god knows how big of a level of play there was compared to level fed produced vs hewitt in USO finals 04, but put prime novak or rafa instead hewitt there, I can guarantee you feds level of play wouldnt have been as it was vs rusty that day. thats why LoP a single player produces contributes little.
It's futile to the extent that there's nothing we can do about it, true. If you don't think a career slam (or reaching the SF of all 4 slams and picking up points en masse) is an order of magnitude easier now, than it was in Borg's, or even Agassi's day, well again, that's your prerogative.
easier, hmm, I guess its as easy for murray as much as its easy for soderling, or tsonga, or whoever. I dont buy what youre implying there, cause that would mean we can put this entire period into a bottom drawer and replay old tapes in quest of epic, great, strong, combative, whatever... that just doesnt sink to me, as long as its the same for everybody in the present, and it is, the playing field is equal, everybody has a chance to show what theyve got. simple as that. you are of course free to see it differently.