I don't get this argument that the early-to-mid noughties was a harder time to win slams than the present. Yes, Federer was bloody good back then, but who else was actually comparable to Djokovic, Nadal & Murray and their respective levels presently? There were a bunch of bit-part slam champions back then such as Hewitt, Roddick, Ferrero, Gaudio, Johansson and Safin. Doesn't that just illustrate that it was not too difficult to sneak a slam or two in despite Federer's dominance?
Irrelevant. Federer was everywhere, he didn't give anyone any openings. From 2004 to 2009, if you wanted a grass or hardcourt Slam, you had to go through peak Federer, the rest of the competitions isn't even relevant here, you had to beat Federer anyway - the best player of the Open Era. On clay, you had arguably an even tougher opponent in Nadal. On clay and grass, you generally had to go through both of them, and on HC too when Nadal peak on that surface. It was never tougher for very good yet not all-time great players to win a Slam. The challenge basically was: if you want a Slam, beat either the best player of the Open Era at his peak, the best ever clay player at his peak or both of them back to back.
Defense is underrated. Murray would return Safins shots that he'd have no right to return and either gain advantage in the rally and hit a winner or force Safin into error.
Basically---a Berdych-Djokovic type of match. We know who mainly wins those !
You're not comparing Berdych with Safin at his best, are you?