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Discussion Starter #1
Interesting comparison between Weak and Golden Era competition. I deliberately skipped multislam champions, Murray, Wawrinka and ofc Djokovic + improved Nadal (not just clay beast as he was in weak era), because thay ARE the reason why their era is called Golden after all...

But look at these names for a moment and think about it... Do you really think that champs like Safin, Hewitt and Roddick are clearly better than these 3 lions? I don't think so. Actually, I'm 100% sure thay are NOT! In tearms of quality they're able to produce + consistency, I have to say that Tsonga, Berdych and DelPo are equally, if not more dangerous opponents. H2H is clearly in their favor (22-14). Slam semies are in favor of weak era champs (25-19), but let's not forget that thay had just 1 Goat as an obstacle.

What do you think?
 

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Peak Safin could beat any of the remaining 5. He just didn't have the work ethic. Hewitt prior to his injuries was quite decent as a grinder. Roddick's serve would've been trouble for anyone on the faster courts. Rest of his game was limited.

But, Berdych, Tsonga and Delpo had longer careers and overall more wins and consistency. But the first group had slam wins denied by Federer . I would say both eras were weak. Tsonga's backhand and return were quire weak. Berdych didn't have the mentality to handle the big stages. Delpo was too injured , and his backhand declined. Plus he was never good against grinders like Ferrer, Murray, Djokovic etc. Overall the first group was better if you compare just these 2 groups.
 

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U gotta be outta yo goddamn mind if you think Berdych and Tsonga are better than Safin, Hewitt, and Roddick. Del Potro I understand as he was a slam winner and could’ve done so much more if it weren’t for injuries. The latter group are all former no.1 players and slam champions whereas Tsonga was too inconsistent and Berdych bent over with his cheeks spread when playing the big 3, especially against Dull and Djokovic.
 

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Roddick, Safin and Hewitt were also denied a bunch of Slams by Federer at least, and Nadal wouldn't have been that good on faster grass/HC they played on (not like any of the 3 were clay contenders anyway)

(Also, weird to include Tsonga over Ferrer).
Marat Safin wasn't denied a bunch of slams by Roger Federer. He lost in the 2004 Australian Open final because he came in with more sets under his belt than anyone in history. He would have lost to anybody.

He lost to him a few other times when he had little chance of winning the slam.
 

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Peak Safin could beat any of the remaining 5. He just didn't have the work ethic. Hewitt prior to his injuries was quite decent as a grinder. Roddick's serve would've been trouble for anyone on the faster courts. Rest of his game was limited.

But, Berdych, Tsonga and Delpo had longer careers and overall more wins and consistency. But the first group had slam wins denied by Federer . I would say both eras were weak. Tsonga's backhand and return were quire weak. Berdych didn't have the mentality to handle the big stages. Delpo was too injured , and his backhand declined. Plus he was never good against grinders like Ferrer, Murray, Djokovic etc. Overall the first group was better if you compare just these 2 groups.
You mention Lleyton Hewitt's injuries but not Marat Safin, who only had 2000, 2002 and 2004 injury free. 2001 he played injured throughout the season, 2003 was a complete write off and his career was essentially finished following the 2005 clay court season, not long after winning the Australian Open.
 

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Peak Safin is vastly underrated (mainly because he didn't last long with injuries). He possessed powerful groundstrokes on both sides, in particular the backhand which was a top 5 shot of all time (two-handed backhands). He was tall with a big serve, was competent at the net. He had a near complete game apart from his work ethic and mentality.

Nalbandian (who isn't mentioned in the OP) is similar but not quite as talented in my eyes (apart from the backhand, another top 5 all time shot).

The potential from these two I've just mentioned were far greater than Tsonga, Berdych, Delpo, Ferrer etc. etc.
 

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You mention Lleyton Hewitt's injuries but not Marat Safin, who only had 2000, 2002 and 2004 injury free. 2001 he played injured throughout the season, 2003 was a complete write off and his career was essentially finished following the 2005 clay court season, not long after winning the Australian Open.
Yes, but I felt he had just about achieved enough with his lack of work ethic and mentality. I mean he could've easily lost against Federer in 05 as well. But , yes if not for his injuries , he could've won one or 2 more slams. Just not on clay or grass though. And if his mentality and work ethic on par with other top players, he would've ended his career with atleast 10 slams injury free.
 

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Peak Safin is vastly underrated (mainly because he didn't last long with injuries). He possessed powerful groundstrokes on both sides, in particular the backhand which was a top 5 shot of all time (two-handed backhands). He was tall with a big serve, was competent at the net. He had a near complete game apart from his work ethic and mentality.

Nalbandian (who isn't mentioned in the OP) is similar but not quite as talented in my eyes (apart from the backhand, another top 5 all time shot).

The potential from these two I've just mentioned were far greater than Tsonga, Berdych, Delpo, Ferrer etc. etc.
Your post made a lot of sense up until the point where you put Del Potro in the same bracket as Tsonga, Berdych, Ferrer. He is miles above those.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
U gotta be outta yo goddamn mind if you think Berdych and Tsonga are better than Safin, Hewitt, and Roddick. Del Potro I understand as he was a slam winner and could’ve done so much more if it weren’t for injuries. The latter group are all former no.1 players and slam champions whereas Tsonga was too inconsistent and Berdych bent over with his cheeks spread when playing the big 3, especially against Dull and Djokovic.
I have to disagree. Safin, Hewitt, and Roddick were champions of the weak era because they had only 1 goat on their path. Or none. Unless you count post-2000 Sampras as one of them. And still they had so many slam wins denied by that 1 guy.. Now, imagine if there were 3 goats + their Cerberus, Andy Murray. Blv me, they would slip into the same pit with Tsonga & co and they could only dream about some slam semifinal. I mean, e.g. all three of them managed to reach second week at Roland Garros only 4 times. Safin 2, Hewitt 2 and Roddick never! What kind of consistency and versatility is that?? Tsonga, Berdych and Delpo are less suited to clay, more sluggish players, but still 9 times in second week of RG.
 

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I have to disagree. Safin, Hewitt, and Roddick were champions of the weak era because they had only 1 goat on their path. Or none. Unless you count post-2000 Sampras as one of them. And still they had so many slam wins denied by that 1 guy.. Now, imagine if there were 3 goats + their Cerberus, Andy Murray. Blv me, they would slip into the same pit with Tsonga & co and they could only dream about some slam semifinal. I mean, e.g. all three of them managed to reach second week at Roland Garros only 4 times. Safin 2, Hewitt 2 and Roddick never! What kind of consistency and versatility is that?? Tsonga, Berdych and Delpo are less suited to clay, more sluggish players, but still 9 times in second week of RG.
That’s just one surface though. Peak Safin could very well take Djokovic out on really any surface and Tsonga and Berdych weren’t good enough to reach no.1 in any era. Del potro can be put in the same group as Safin and Hewitt and Roddick is slightly below. The top players might’ve been stronger in the “golden era” but the remaining players were all bendovers which always allowed Tsonga/Berdych to make it somewhat deep before losing to big 3. Perhaps Roddick can be put alongside Tsonga and Berdych but he did still end up accomplishing more.
 

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There is no doubt which is the more successful group, the rest is just speculation with no real answer. Although, in my opinion I would say that safin, hewitt and roddick were all better players in their prime with a higher peak although del potro might actually be on the level of the Safin, Hewitt, and Roddick group in peak level and who knows how successful he could have been but its all just speculations.
 

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The first group didn't get the same chance to win a slam. When they played their best, they were sometimes able to beat one of Big 4 players, but still had to face another one or even two to win a tournament. Del Potro got lucky in US Open 2009 with hampered Nadal, while Berdych was seriously unlucky in London the year after.

The second group only had Fred for majority of their stint as the only who makes nearly every final in every slam for 3-4 years. And 2000-2003 even without him. With all due respect to ageing Agassi and Sampras, they weren't the same level of competition as Big 4 in 2008-2013.

Overall I have Safin and Del Potro as the best of them, but singling out Tsonga and Berdych as bendovers in comparison to Hewitt and Rodduck is stupid. They're all very close to each other in my eyes.
 
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Discussion Starter #16
Well said, mate. My thoughts exactly.

Safin is probably the best of them all, but the margins are much, much smaller then people actually think. Safin also had so many nemeses for such a superstar. I mean, Ferrero, Davydenko, Hrbaty, Robredo, Gonzalez.. Santoro??

But people are usually blinded by players trophies and success, just like when they say e.g. Lendl was better player than Murray. No, he wasn't.
 

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Safin's game was too risky to be sustained by longer periods of time, but I think that if he was a harder worker, and don't get me wrong, he was a hard worker, NOBODY gets to the top on talent alone - Also, the so called talent is only honed by training -, he would've gone to win more slams. Watch AO2005. 05-06 were the absolute best years of federer in terms of playing level, but the guy managed to hold him back at a slam. Del Potro, had he had continuity is his career, could perhaps be of the level of a Ferrer-mentality-safin. It's not just about getting back from injury, it's also how being stopped time and time again also holds back the evolution that continuity provides to a player.
Hewitt and Roddick(and I think Roddick is the better player here) had the gift of not having to deal with peak Federer when they were building there confidence. Had Federer been born 77-78, those guys wouldn't probably ever be n1 or have a slam to they name. And that's precisely the problem specially with Berdych and also with Tsonga. They were coming of age when Federer was already a god and the other three "kids" were being ridiculously precocious time and time again.
In conclusion, I think in an ideal world, Safin and Potro could be courier or a five-timer. I won't say Becker and Edberg level because these guys were dealing with each other and also Lendl, Wilander, Pistol Pete and Agassi, so their level of actual play is higher then the number of GSlams they have.
Tsonga and Berdych, perhaps they could've been three-four timers in a more fortuitous competitive situation.

I'm not taking into consideration the intangible of extra confidence that piling up a few slams also gives you. That "my opponent entered the court already defeated kinda thing"
 

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Well said, mate. My thoughts exactly.

Safin is probably the best of them all, but the margins are much, much smaller then people actually think. Safin also had so many nemeses for such a superstar. I mean, Ferrero, Davydenko, Hrbaty, Robredo, Gonzalez.. Santoro??

But people are usually blinded by players trophies and success, just like when they say e.g. Lendl was better player than Murray. No, he wasn't.
Perhaps you should watch Lendl. His serve, groundstrokes and mentality were far better than Murray. Backhand is close but Lendl's backhand is actually pretty underrated. Not to mention his fitness was exceptional. Only area where Murray has clear advantage would be movement and ROS.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned so much here is how good Hewitt was when he was younger. Sure he wasn't as flashy as Safin and even Roddick (he had a big serve and forehand at his best, a pretty obvious game) but his counterpunching was second to none. His mentality was excellent, movement wonderful and tactically he was a rock. Great player, just another reason why Federer should be respected - he just started toying with him, it was a joke.
 

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In terms of potential, Safin is on another planet. The guy legitimately had the game to be a 6-7 time slam winner, but obviously not the focus or dedication. Out of all the guys you mentioned, no one was able to come close to the level he brought at the 2000 USO or 2005 AO. I think Delpo could have won up to 3 slams if healthy. Tsonga also had a lot of talent and potential, but not the mentality. Maybe could have nabbed 1-2. Berdych was always pretty one dimensional and a mental midget on top of that, so likely none for him. Or maybe 1 if he gets lucky and the draw opens up. Roddick unfortunately abandoned his big forehand after 2004, who knows what he could have accomplished if he kept playing the way he did in the 2004 Wimbledon final for example. Hewitt was the least physically gifted and talented, but he worked like a dog to achieve what he did and was very mentally strong on top of that. I think that definitely puts him above the likes of Tsonga and Berdych.

Overall, I would say Safin > Delpo > Roddick > Hewitt > Tsonga > Berdych
 

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The first group didn't get the same chance to win a slam. When they played their best, they were sometimes able to beat one of Big 4 players, but still had to face another one or even two to win a tournament. Del Potro got lucky in US Open 2009 with hampered Nadal, while Berdych was seriously unlucky in London the year after.

The second group only had Fred for majority of their stint as the only who makes nearly every final in every slam for 3-4 years. And 2000-2003 even without him. With all due respect to ageing Agassi and Sampras, they weren't the same level of competition as Big 4 in 2008-2013.

Overall I have Safin and Del Potro as the best of them, but singling out Tsonga and Berdych as bendovers in comparison to Hewitt and Rodduck is stupid. They're all very close to each other in my eyes.
More or less, we've made the same point haha. Didn't see your post mate. This is about it anyways
 
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