Originally Posted by lordmanji
There are only three players that match up against federer.
1. Nadal - he is the king of clay where he pushes for fed to go for too much and when he does, can retrieve any ball thus making fed's game low percentage. Despite a win on the hc of dubai, nadal has not proven he can be a serious threat on hardcourts. Wimbledon is probably his best chance to get even if he can get past 1st wk as by the 2nd wk the grass is so chewed up its more of a clay court.
2. Nalbandian. He's went deep into each major this year and if not for an injury at the french, likely would've beaten a tentative federer. Like nadal, Nalbandian has a mental edge over federer and can go toe to toe in baseline rallies, can return serve just as well as roger. Unfortunately, nalby loses it mentally before he reaches finals.
3. Safin. He beat roger in five at the 05 Aus open in what could be said the most even of circumstances. They both played their hearts out without mental lapses, injury or fatigue and it was Safin who came out on top with his penetrating double backhander and booming fhs. If he can stay healthy next year and survive the 1st wk of the majors, look for him to seriously challenge Roger's supremacy.
I left out Murray as I suspect Roger tanked, gave it away, what have you -- he didn't want to win that badly so he lost. Also, I left out Berdych because of his complete meltdown versus blake and he has not challenged fed since the olympics. Guys like roddick and blake will always pose a threat of taking a set off, but w/ blake turning 28 and andy even at his best just not good enough, i had to leave em off.
Likely what we'll see happen is one of the young teens out of probably thousands at this point mirroring their game after federer - footwork, blocking back serve - come up and beat fed after his prime, probably 31-32. Federer, like seles or the williamses, is the model for and ushering in the next wave of male tennis players.
Good post but I don't buy it that Safin can compete with Federer. Even if he's healthy he just doesn't have the consistency.