Re: 2006 - Who will be Federer's main rivals?
Well, David met Federer three times this year, which was actually more than the Federer-Safin and Federer-Nadal meetings (of course, Safin was injured for the greater part of the year, so he's excused). I do believe that this might bring about a change for the better in his attitude and mental game, so yes, along with Safin, I think Nalbandian might be the prime rival for Federer among the 'older' generation. Of course, Roddick, Hewitt, etc., will all be trying to clamber up there as well.
I do hope the young generation can come in full bloom over the next year or two, though - Nadal, Berdych, Gasquet, Baghdatis, Murray, Monfils, Djokovic, etc., etc., should all rise to the top. If Gasquet is uninjured, I think he can manage to make it to the top 5 of the game, but he does need to win a Slam. Nadal - not much to say there, some more fast-court experience and he might even take Federer's #1 spot. The rest all have their respective games - Federer has met with most of them, apart from Monfils and Djokovic, and he has had some trouble with those he has met.
I am a fan of Federer, Gasquet, Baghdatis, the long-deceased Safin, Youzhny, Nalbandian, Rochus, Tsonga, the sadly-departed Santoro, and good, hearty, competitive tennis matches. The quality of my life does not rest solely on who wins these matches. In fact, I would even go as far as to say that I can live quite happily after a player I like chokes, mugs, bashes, or otherwise succumbs to a loss.