Originally Posted by grafselesfan
The field from 1998-2006 was the worst period for mens tennis ever. And yes I know Sampras won 4 of his slams during this time, but Federer won 9 of his and had alot of his dominance and time at #1 from 2004-2006. Lets look at some things that happened during 2004-2006:
-in 2004 a French Open that produced Henman in the semis, and a Coria-Gaudio final with Gaudio as Champion
-in 2006 James Blake as the year end World #4 (hahaha) a player who would never reach a single slam semifinal in his life, nor win a single Masters title.
-From 2005 onwards Davydenko becoming a regular top 3 player, and ending 2006 #3 in the World. This being a guy who many years later still hasnt reached a single slam final.
-Ivan Ljubicic reaching #3 in the World in 2006
The reason Graf is the undisputed female GOAT and Federer is not the mens GOAT is she backed down from nobody, which Federer certainly cant say. Navratilova, Seles, Sanchez Vicario, Evert, Hingis, Davenport, you name it, Graf beat them repeatedly on all surfaces. Even those very rare periods she was ranked below them she did not fear any of them at any point, if anything she struck fears in them. She did not get scared of main rivals or develop a mental block vs them, or all that silly stuff for a so called GOAT you associate with Federer when it comes to Nadal, Murray, even Djokovic. You can harp on pre stabbing Seles all you want but in Monica's best year ever she barely beat Graf on her own best surface (10-8 in the 3rd) and got humiliated on Graf's. During her own dominance in 91-early 93 she lost to Graf on every surface, and their 2 matches on a medium to fast court which favored Graf was bullied around both times. Contrast that to Federer who has always had massive trouble beating Nadal on grass, was losing to him regularly on hard courts as a teenager, and is part of a farcial non rivalry with him on Nadal's turf- clay. Graf dominated on all surfaces unlike Federer.
It's very easy to accuse Federer of not beating his main competition because of H2Hs, despite Federer being way past his prime. Let's go one by one:
Djokovic: This one is easy, Federer owns him, 9-5 H2H, 4-1 at slams, you really have no case in Djokovic.
Murray: Murray got most of his wins by beating a past-prime Federer. Even so, Federer still leads the slam H2H 1-0 (2-1 if you consider Cincy a slam, like some Nadal fans do). Federer is 3-6 against Murray, but he clearly won the more important matches. Until Murray beats Fed at a slam, Fed will be considered the supoerior player in their H2H.
Nadal: I consider Fed's prime until TMC 2007. By then, the H2H was 8-6 to Nadal, but Federer was leading the H2H in 2/3 surfaces. There is a reason why Nadal stayed #2 despite beating Federer more than losing to him. The reason was Nadal was not good enough to reach HC slam finals or some HC MS finals, while Fed reached just about every clay event final, and always gave Nadal a competitive fight. Federer never had the chance to even the H2H, depite actually leading it on grass and HC. When 2008 began, you had to be blind not to see Fed isn't the same player as before. Moved more slowly, made more errors, and Nadal took full atvantage of that. In fact, not only Nadal did, but also Stepanek, Roddick, Blake, Fish, Karlovic, guys who Federer usually owns. The fact Federer still reaches slam finals despite his current game amazes me.
Fact is, Nadal couldn't gain the #1 ranking up until Federer was a shadow of his former self, and even then he couldn't keep it. Federer also has a far better record against the field than Nadal does.
These days, I'm not surprised when Fed's playing badly or losing, because he just isn't the old Federer anymore. You get flashes of him here and there, but overall he's just not as good as before. If Murray, Djokovic are so much better than the likes of Hewitt, Davydenko, Roddick, Haas they wouldn't lose to all of them in a year like 2009, when this guys are in the later stage of their careers.
Also, I agree Pete had the tougher grass era, but Fed had a tougher HC era, so it evens out.