Safin is murderously overrated

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by MonkeyBoy, Nov 28, 2013.

  1. MonkeyBoy

    MonkeyBoy Professional

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    Sorry, but the Safin love on these boards is approaching vulgar obscenity.

    We all love Safin for his bad boy image and devil may care demeanour, but this affection for his personality has transformed into an insane amount of embellishment of his actual accomplishments in the sport. People are more infatuated with the idea of Safin than the reality. Safin was a great player, he achieved a lot and deserves his dues but talking about him as ONE OF THA MOST TALENTED PLAYERZ OF ALL TIME is a claim grounded more in fan fiction that the truth. The posters on this board have woven this epic ballad of Safin as some kind of delicate genius undone only by the tragic facts of life and the iniquities of social circumstance.

    A couple points:

    1. Safin must be given credit for steamrolling Sampras' *** in one of the most one sided grand slam finals in tennis history. But it's ridiculous to use this match as a vehicle for the claim that peak Safin was somehow better than peak Sampras on hard courts (yes, some Safin fans are actually claiming this). Sampras was slightly past his prime at the time, and he avenged the loss the following year. Krajicek breezed through a prime Sampras on his best surface. Is peak Krajicek better than peak Sampras?

    2. Now I know I'm treading on shaky ground here, as this match is literally sacrosanct among 75% of the posters on this board, but Safin's AO2005 victory over Federer is slightly overrated. Yeah, it was a great win, but in the interest of full disclosure it must be said: Fed had an injury in this match. I know it's heart breaking to state this: nothing is more romantic than the imagery of an underdog Safin putting out the performance of a lifetime and becoming — against all odds — the only man to outplay the GOAT in his prime in an off clay major. It's a picture perfect storybook moment. But if we're going to take the A02008 victory away from Djokovic because of mononucleosis (which a lot of people here do) then we must remember that Federer had blisters on his feet that were curtailing his movement. Prime Federer also lost best-of-five hard court matches to Nalbandian (USO03,WTF05), a player who never gets the kind of epic hyperbole levied on him Safin does.

    Different performance trajectories determine that if players play each other a number of times, you're going to get a range of different results. All players have on days and off days, which is why looking at results in isolation is not a good way of accessing athletes. Yes, Safin had a number of A-level victories; he also spent a large portion of his prime losing to journeymen mugs and crashing out in the first week of slams.

    The evidence for this being down merely to Safin's ferocious inconsistency is pretty insubstantial in my opinion. Varying performance trajectories mean you can always find outliers in records. Tsonga gave Nadal one of the worst beatings of his career (AO2008 ) and became the only person to beat the arguable GOAT on his arguably best surface by coming back from a two set deficit. Is Tsonga's peak level higher than both Nadal's and Federer's, and his lack greater achievement in the sport due merely to extreme inconsistency? The claim to Safin's tennis-demigod level greatness basically rides on symphonic and operatic levels of this kind of statistical cherry picking.

    Safin was a great player, and possibly an underachiever, but fans have elevated this to mythic proportions. Pay close attention to the posts of Anaconda and tkoziol in this thread for some of the most hilariously outlandish nonsense I've read on tennis warehouse (and that's saying something): http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=483950

    A few things I learned from reading that thread:

    -Safin's peak level of play was higher than the peak levels of play of Borg, Sampras and Laver.
    -For a brief period in late 04, early 05 Marat Safin was THE GREATEST TENNIS PLAYER OF ALL TIME.
    -Despite having only made the second week of the French open twice, he was an elite clay player, at least on par with Federer and Kuerten on the surface.
    -The fact that he beat a "prime" Djokovic at Wimbledon 2008 and had a reasonably close match with Federer on grass one time in a 250 is proof that he could have been an elite grass player. The only reason for lack of success at Wimbledon is because his injuries coincided with the tournament every single time he player it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013
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  2. Gorecki

    Gorecki G.O.A.T.

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    good for you.
     
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  3. Steve0904

    Steve0904 G.O.A.T.

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    Actually it was great. I loved reading every bit of it.
     
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  4. Gorecki

    Gorecki G.O.A.T.

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    reading is good. love too!
     
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  5. LazyNinja19

    LazyNinja19 Hall of Fame

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    I completely agree that Safin is overrated.
    But "blisters on feet"?? Fed ran for 5 sets! Come on :lol:
    What next? Common cold?

    #SexiBlisterFeetM*noBackGOATFed
     
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  6. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    Wow. Very well written, Monkeyboy.

    I have had similar thoughts but couldn't articulate them nearly as well you could.
     
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  7. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    The blisters only became an issue in the 4th set where Federer looked really ****ed off and his body language was becoming really negative. Safin won that match fair and square..no doubt about that. Federer's reaction to missing on match point in the 4th set showed how desperate he was to finish the match in 4 sets. Safin pushed it to 5 and really improved his chances.



    Btw, have you tried playing tennis with a cold? It absolutely sucks.
     
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  8. LazyNinja19

    LazyNinja19 Hall of Fame

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    I know man. I completely believe that Federer is way above Safin in terms of prime. So much above that the asking for comparison between the two is funny & ridiculous!

    All I'm saying is that everyone, even Fed is allowed to lose a match in his prime. Safin had an incredible day and beat Fed. It doesn't mean that Safin is a better player overall. Just that he was better that particular day.

    Regarding blisters on feet, I just don't know what to believe any more.
    Fed fans have ALWAYS attributed his losses in his "prime" to excuses like M*no, bad back, sudden slowing down of surfaces, "past his prime", and now blisters!
    I don't believe that he could run for 5 sets & compete at that top level if he had blisters or suffering from m*no. Sorry.
    I also don't believe that Rafa had bad kness when he lost to Rosol in 5 sets. He lost fair & square!
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013
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  9. Backspin1183

    Backspin1183 Legend

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    Overrated he is. He was very talented...but honestly I don't care how gifted you are. What you do with what you've got is what counts the most.
    Safin won two slams. Great for him. That's where his achievement ends. He is no great of the game.
     
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  10. mental midget

    mental midget Professional

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    federer had either an ankle or foot issue in that wtf match with nalbandian btw, it was definitely screwing him up. i remember it was a big surprise he was able to make it as close as he did, and nearly pulled out the victory.
     
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  11. beast of mallorca

    beast of mallorca Legend

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    Safin is The Most Overrated Player of All Time
     
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  12. TennisMD

    TennisMD Semi-Pro

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    Well I have always championed hard work and diligence as key attributes of success and clearly Safin did not possess these qualities. However talent I define as innate qualities that one has irregardless of practice , and Safins utter dismantling of Sampras at the Open is surely representative of this. I watched that match and the power and precision with which he (Safin) displayed that day was eye opening, and come on Sampras was not an old man then. Now why Sampras was a better overall player is diligence and doing magnificent matches time and again. Satin on the other hand put more diligence into wine women and song, but he still was supremely talented
     
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  13. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    'Peak' is such a difficult term though, do you peak in a certain year, month, match, even point? The Safin that beat Sampras at flushy was certainly very, very good.
     
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  14. Disgruntled Worker

    Disgruntled Worker Semi-Pro

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    Another pointless, generic thread...
     
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  15. marc45

    marc45 Legend

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    been meaning to touch on this myself too, so good job op....the same thinking goes on with Rios
     
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  16. tkoziol

    tkoziol Rookie

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    Murderously? Who says that?

    I've said it multiple times, but apparently its not getting through to people. In almost all measurements of GOAT Safin is not even in the discussion. There are LOTS of ways to measure GOAT.

    Slam count: pretty self explanatory Winner = Federer

    Alternative achievements: davis cup, olympics, masters titles, etc. Winner = Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer

    Eye Test: player just looks good. effortless, no sweat, you see player do things that no other player can do. Inventing new shots...Federer just looks more calm, collected, and graceful on court Winner = Federer

    Consistent Level of Play: player consistently wins matches, has amazing streak records (time at no. 1, matches in a row, calendar slams, etc.). I would say that this one creates the most debate. I would say it comes down to 3 players, Rafa, Fed, and Djoker. Considering the they are all still active on the pro tour, only time will tell who wins out. Winner = Federer

    Peak Level of Play: player reaches a point at which no other player could beat him. Has to be maintained for at least the duration of one match. This is where you hear names like Safin and Nalbandian. For this one I have to go with Safin. In 2005 Federer was truly unbeatable. Fed won 95.29% of his matches (no thats not a typo). Safin beat him in an epic Aussie Open Semi. Watch it on youtube if you haven't seen it. Not only that match, but late 2004-early 2005 Peter Lundgren got Safin focus. A focus Safin is a scary Safin. Due to injury this didn't last long, but it was there. I believe that it was the highest level of play I've ever seen. Again this was only in a MICROCOSM of his career and is largely based on eye test Winner = Safin

    Matchups: have all the goat players face each other in a round robin tournament IN THEIR PRIME and ON GRASS, CLAY, SLOW HC, and FAST HC and see who the winner would be. Sometimes there are just bad matchups like fed v rafa (1hbh vs heavy spin). So unique matches are important. Lets say Djoker, Safin, Fed, Agassi, Sampras, Rafa. Similar to the pro tour now, I think Rafa would have the best head to head record against top 10 players. Additionally, IF, again BIG IF, he wins the Aussie Open this year....He will have won each of the 4 slams at least twice. That would be exactly the kind of achievement to look at for this scenario. Winner = Nadal

    Entire tour: have the goats take on every atp player in existence for the past 10 years. Who would have the most wins? This one would have to be Roger Federer in his prime or possibly Rafa in his prime and healthy. Plus Federer has an intimidation factor that Rafa never seemed to have. Perhaps it was Rafas slow start in matches...IDK. But I can think of way more matches that were over before they even started just because they felt helpless against Federer (on almost any service). I feel like this happens a lot with Rafa too, but only on Clay. Winner: Federer (maybe rafa)

    Playing for your life: who would you choose to play for your life? What player has the most heart and won't break down mentally? For me this would be Federers worst category. A lot of people would say Pancho Gonzales, but that was before my time...so I would say Safin or Rafa. Rafa is pretty self explanatory. For those who don't know much about Safin....He didn't like tennis. Not like Agassi who is still involved in tennis and married a tennis player. Safin is in politics now! He really didn't like tennis. He's had issues with focus because talent does not equal desire. If he wanted to win for revenge, a bet, or needed the cash, he was amazing. I think fighting for someones life would be plenty of motivation for him. Winner = Safin (maybe Rafa)

    I give Safin the GOAT in two categories that are both pretty silly scenarios. First, Safin at peak. Peak and prime are two different things. Define peak: a players top level, in a microcosm, injury free, focused, late 2004-early 2005, ate his wheaties in the morning. In my opinion Safin at his best during the peak point in his career was the best tennis I have ever seen in my life. Second, I would want Safin to play for my life. Don't even get me started on how ridiculous this scenario is. Although its becoming more likely if the TTW Fed Fans kidnap me.... In my opinion when motivated, Safin is an unstoppable force, I used to think the same of Rafa until Djoker.

    I'm no fool. I watch a lot of tennis. I'm a 5.0 level player. And I am a full time certified tennis instructor and racquet stringer. I do not have Safin posters in my room or have his face tattooed on my body. During the Safin years he wasn't even my favorite player on tour. Looking back at some of his matches I think that at peak he was the best I've ever seen, I'd have him play for my life, and his strokes are some of the cleanest, simplistic, and beneficially replicated for instructional purposes (this last part I didn't add to GOAT categories because no one cares about it, its only important to instructors).
     
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  17. Goosehead

    Goosehead Hall of Fame

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    safin was not or is not overrated..

    he was up there with Federer tennis wise but he did not apply any dedication to his career..plus some injuries, but his personality wasn't for the long haul of playing, training, etc..

    safin wanted to party too much..a 24hr party person:), he is not overrated, he underachieved. but that's not the same thing.

    he had magical shots in his box of delights, but.......
     
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  18. Morj

    Morj Semi-Pro

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    Excellenttt thread, you carefully and rationally explained why Safin is overrated and provide examples and support to your argument. Unfortunately this will still not get through to Safin fans, in which case thats not your fault, nothing else can really be done.

    And I notice that rather than go through your argument and counter your points, Safin fans are responding with the same mantra over and over "He's not overrated, he just doesn't try". Safin fans, the OP has already addressed this. If you want to prove the OP wrong then look at his points and counter each one of them, if you just start rambling on with your same old rants then you dont have a case.
     
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  19. Morj

    Morj Semi-Pro

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    Yes but Sampras beat him the next year at USO 2001. The excuse Safin fans have is that he wasnt playing well that time. Well what about Sampras in 2000? Why doesn't he get that excuse?

    You see, this is the problem with arguing about Safin. Just because Sampras is the consistent, dominant player, and Safin is the inconsistent one then that means its assumed that Sampras must always be playing his best and Safin is the only one that gets the excuse of "wasn't playing well that day". If Safin loses to Safin/Federer no problem, he just "wasn't playing his best, so it doesn't count." If Safin beats Sampras/Federer then "Oh my god, that was peak vs peak and Safin won!!"
     
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  20. tkoziol

    tkoziol Rookie

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    1. Yes, in my opinion the mechanics are more sound. They are more simplistic, reliable, and effective in every aspect.

    2. Yes, somewhere in that brief period of time Safin achieved a level of greatness that I believe is unparalleled based on my eye test.

    3. Safin trained in Spain and spoke fluent Spanish. Lets be honest here...half of you posters did not know that. He was a great clay court player. As good as Federer? No way. I think that early in his career when Safin moved better he might have made the match up more entertaining, but Fed would still win IMO.

    4. Safin was never a very successful grass court player. With proper training I think he could have been great on grass. Injuries greatly hindered his grass court progress. However I don't feel comfortable playing the "what if game", I judge based on what I can see. What I see is Fed smashing him on grass.

    What am I saying exactly that is so outlandish?
     
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  21. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Look at his avatar - you don't really think he/she plays do you? Oxygen recovery and tennis... he/she has no clue.

    OP, good review. I enjoyed watching Safin - when his head/heart were in it - and he was good for the ATP tour. But, totally agree the accolades he's been getting these last few days are ridiculous.
     
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  22. MichaelNadal

    MichaelNadal Bionic Poster

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    What's really hilarious is that the main reason Safin is put on this pedestal (especially by Federer Fans), is beating Fed at the AO in 05. How many times did Rafa beat prime Federer? What is their slam H2H? :oops: But these same people paint Nadal to be a talentless mug. :lol: The very definition of hypocrisy. Of course Safin is great right? He's no threat to your hero's legacy. Same with Nalby.
     
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  23. TTMR

    TTMR Hall of Fame

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    OP is simply green with jealousy because his guy could never beat peak Federer and now will never have the opportunity, while a groin-injured Safin defeated a Federer who was playing the tennis of his life, and exterminated the hitherto GOAT Sampras at the age of 20: likely the most dominant tennis performance in history.
     
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  24. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Despite massive underachievement, Safin managed to win an Australian Open, a US Open, a few other major finals, 5 masters series titles, Davis Cup titles with Russia, and spent 9 weeks as world number 1. Oh, and he also reached at least the semi finals of all 4 majors. Not bad for such an inconsistent player.
     
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  25. MichaelNadal

    MichaelNadal Bionic Poster

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    :lol: So now comes the same praise for Nadal beating Federer in 04-07 right? Or is it Safin the only person deserving of credit for beating Fed in a match where Federer even had match point? :)
     
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  26. monfed

    monfed Guest

    Safin beat peak Sampras at USO, peak Fed at AO, peak Kuerten at RG, all of this while having an active party life. Nuff said(but I still think Fed's peak > Safin's coz of Fed's variety).
     
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  27. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    1998 Kuerten was hardly peak. He was struggling to come to terms with the big expectations after winning his first French Open.
     
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  28. TTMR

    TTMR Hall of Fame

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    No, Nadal doesn't get the same credit. He happened to be born left-handed and exploited an anomalous matchup issue. Moreover, he never defeated summit Federer playing his very best, except on clay. And no, Wimbledon 2008 was not peak Federer. Sorry.
     
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  29. monfed

    monfed Guest

    Oh so Guga needed some therapy for winning huh? :lol:
     
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  30. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Kuerten won the 1997 French Open as a huge outsider, who was ranked 66 in the world. Using the benefit of hindsight, the knowledge where Kuerten became the future king of clay, doesn't change this reality.
     
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  31. MichaelNadal

    MichaelNadal Bionic Poster

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    I rest my case. Never seen this level of denial in my life. Nadal doesn't get credit for beating Federer for having a "matchup advantage" :lol: It's more of an accomplishment that Safin beat peak Federer because it was harder for him to do?! Lmao!
     
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  32. monfed

    monfed Guest

    Fine. Put it differently, are you implying that Kuerten preferred playing as the underdog?
     
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  33. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    You're clueless (besides responding to @TTMR - he's not serious). Many of us who are agreeing with the OP are Fed fans.

    Paranoid much? I think you've been watching 'Big Brother' too much... LOL!
     
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  34. MichaelNadal

    MichaelNadal Bionic Poster

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    Oh it's not all of you, it never is., so don't get me wrong. I think we know exactly who's paranoid on these forums and it's not Nadal fans, we really don't have a reason.
     
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  35. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    I'm saying that Kuerten in 1998 was struggling to deal with the expectations and fame that resulted from his 1997 French Open triumph. It took him around a year and a half to get to grips with it all.

    Kuerten was less of an underdog vs. favourite kind of player in his mentality, and more a player who thrived on momentum and getting into the groove. He could sometimes play very flat and lose matches that he should never have lost, but if he got into a groove, he was tough for anybody to beat.
     
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  36. monfed

    monfed Guest

    You do realise Fed hadn't dropped a set on his way to the SF , straight setting Agassi(the AO goat at the time) on the way? That's not even accounting for arguably one of his greatest HC tournaments form-wise he's ever played? I mean people talk about Fed' AO 07 but I prefer thinking of AO 05 as Fed's AO peak and possibly HC peak. Too bad he ended up on the losing side.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2013
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  37. monfed

    monfed Guest

    Ok thanks for the explanation,didn't know that tbh. But I still feel beating a defending RG champ of the caliber of Guga by a player whose favourite surface isn't even clay is a magnificent achievement.
     
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  38. Clarky21

    Clarky21 Banned

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    You hit the nail on the head with this post. And when Screech overtakes the h2h between he and Fed, they will viciously turn on him as well. Especially if he comes anywhere near Fed's slam count.
     
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  39. MichaelNadal

    MichaelNadal Bionic Poster

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    Lol you do realize Federer is actually human right? But this is a fun game so I'll play. You do realize he straight setted everyone on the way to the Wimbledon final in 08, including MARAT in the semis? Don't forget 2 weeks ago everyone was talking about how Safin beat Novak that tournament too. My my let's see you tiptoe around this one :lol: I'll be right back with my popcorn!
     
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  40. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    In 1999, Kuerten won Monte Carlo and Rome and entered the French Open as the favourite, but lost to Medvedev in the quarter finals. Then Kuerten started being the best clay player, peaking in 2001. Even at his peak, he was always prone to flat matches. At the 2001 French Open, he was 1 point away from losing to Michael Russell (an American qualifier) in straight sets, in the Round of 16.

    Oh yes. Whatever I've said about Kuerten, Safin still beat the defending French Open champion when he beat Kuerten at Roland Garros in 1998.
     
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  41. Djokovic2011

    Djokovic2011 G.O.A.T.

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    I love reading the altercations between you and Monfed-they always keep me entertained and with a smile on my face lol.:)
     
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  42. MichaelNadal

    MichaelNadal Bionic Poster

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    I've never seen someone so blind by butthurt that they provide their own arguments to trip over. Federer was so far past his prime in Wimby 08 that he won it two more times just for the hell of it. One of them being 4 years later :lol: However Nadal is still in his clay prime which has somehow run nonstop since 2005, all while being untalented and not on even Safin level? I mean which story is the one you want to stick with?

    Edit: as a real and fair Djokovic fan, I can totally see why you'd find us entertaining :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013
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  43. Russeljones

    Russeljones G.O.A.T.

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    Basically he is saying Murray > Safin.
     
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  44. Djokovic2011

    Djokovic2011 G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah I know what you mean mate. I honestly don't think some of the posters on here have ever even watched tennis or if they have it's only in the last few years or so. Anyway one thing's for sure MN-you definitely give as good as you get.:)
     
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  45. Xemi666

    Xemi666 Professional

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    On this forum, certainly.
     
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  46. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

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    I somewhat agree with MonkeyBoy! great points there. I would love to have seen a prime Safin vs. a prime Djokovic match.
     
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  47. ctoth666

    ctoth666 Professional

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    Safin was a pretty exceptional player, though. He's overrated because we all know how much more he could have achieved than what he did. A fantastic talent and he could play some incredible tennis.
     
    #47
  48. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2010
    Messages:
    7,729
    Location:
    Sweden
    So the word Mono has been banned?

    It was not.
     
    #48
  49. tipsa...don'tlikehim!

    tipsa...don'tlikehim! G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    18,862
    Safin got 2 grand slams but an overall of 15 titles, that's half of what Roddick got (31 If i remember correctly).

    If you listen to people here on this forum, Safin > Roddick, which is obviously not the case.

    A guy like Carlos Moya got more titles as well (20)...

    MonkeyBoy is 100% right.
     
    helterskelter likes this.
    #49
  50. tipsa...don'tlikehim!

    tipsa...don'tlikehim! G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    18,862
    Of course Murray > Safin, that's obvious.
     
    #50

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