Peak Safin vs. Peak Djokovic: who prevails?

Safin or Djokovic


  • Total voters
    94

Tenez!

Professional
They were born 6 years apart, which is huge. It's like talking about the rivalry between Federer and Enqvist (born 74). Sure Enqvist dominated the few encounters they had but come on, who in the world believes he would have maintained the dominance against n.1-in-the-world Federer ?

The AO in '05 can't really count as Djokovic hadn't developped his trademark style yet (that's early 2007).
However the match at WB '08 was great, Marat was really manhandling the ball despite the heavy wind.

I'd wager that, even if Safin took a 3-0 or 4-0 advantage, as Djokovic learned to cope with heavy hitting over the years, Safin would have gone the way of everyone else: down in the H2H.
(Also Safin was a headcase at times.)
 
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Navdeep Srivastava

Guest
I don't think the H2H suggests very much considering their respective years in which they played what one may call peak stuff...

Overall I think Djokovic will have an edge.
AO safin will have edge, but then how many matched AO safin showed ? He was just like Wawa a little more consistent.
 

SpinToWin

Talk Tennis Guru
AO safin will have edge, but then how many matched AO safin showed ? He was just like Wawa a little more consistent.
Depends on the exact surface I'd say... Also, Marat's peak was considerably less long than Novak's and much more inconsistent, which is more than enough to give Djokovic the edge.

The balls in use would also make a huge difference in this matchup... With the lighter and less fluffy balls from the early 2000s I'd give Safin much better chances, but I'm not sure how he'd do with the heavier and fluffier balls of today...
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
AO open safin will have an edge? Wtf
I agree with @Navdeep Srivastava peak Safin has too much game for Djokovic at his best. It would be like playing Wawrinka at the AO, except with a better forehand and serve. I do think Novak would take at least a set though, his defensive baseline game is very good so he could probably frustrate Marat until he adjusted.
 
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nowhereman

Guest
If we're talking 2005 AO Safin or 2000 USO Safin, it would be pretty even IMO. Safin playing at that level consistently would pretty much be like facing a taller peak Wawrinka with a two hander for Djokovic. And we all know how hard of a time Djokovic has playing the Stanimal when his game is on.
 
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Nadalgaenger

G.O.A.T.
I honestly asked myself this same question the other day. Very funny coincidence indeed. I'd have to say that Novak would adapt his game and prevail in the H2H, especially on slower surfaces. However, Safin would blitz him a time or two.
 

Nadalgaenger

G.O.A.T.
They were born 7 years apart, which is huge. It's like talking about the rivalry between Federer and Enqvist (born 74). Sure Enqvist dominated the few encounters they had but come on, who in the world believes he would have maintained the dominance against n.1-in-the-world Federer ?

The AO in '05 can't really count as Djokovic hadn't developped his trademark style yet (that's early 2007).
However the match at WB '08 was great, Marat was really manhandling the ball despite the heavy wind.

I'd wager that, even if Safin took a 3-0 or 4-0 advantage, as Djokovic learned to cope with heavy hitting over the years, Safin would have gone the way of everyone else: down in the H2H.
(Also Safin was a headcase at times.)
Very logical. That is what is so impressive about Djokovic. His adaptability and tactical adjustments deserve a lot of credit. Safin totally lacks this.
 

RF-18

Talk Tennis Guru
I honestly asked myself this same question the other day. Very funny coincidence indeed. I'd have to say that Novak would adapt his game and prevail in the H2H, especially on slower surfaces. However, Safin would blitz him a time or two.
If they play 5/5 matches peak to peak Djokovic wins 5/5.

If Safin catches Djokovic on a bad day he could win, but that would be impossible as this thread required both of them to be playing peak level of tennis.
 
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Achilles82

Professional
"peak Safin". Give me a break.

The most overrated player in history of tennis. I like Safin, but you cant even compare him to one of the all time greats Novak Djokovic.

Marat Safin passed 4th round on grand slams only 9 times. In his prime, on grand slams he would loose early to players like Martin Damm (thats right, WHO?!), Dominik Hrbaty, Dmitry Tursunov, Feliciano Lopez etc....

And then someone talks about him as one of the greats. Please....
 

Jaitock1991

Hall of Fame
Seeing how Stan at his best troubles Nole as much as he does, I would expect Safin(same type of player as Stan, but more aggressive(as in taking the ball earlier) and with a bigger serve and imo better groundgame) to do much of the same.

Overall though, it's crazy not to give the edge to Djoker. On every surface. But only about 60-40. Peak Safin was a BEAST.
 

Nonsense

Hall of Fame
"peak Safin". Give me a break.

The most overrated player in history of tennis. I like Safin, but you cant even compare him to one of the all time greats Novak Djokovic.

Marat Safin passed 4th round on grand slams only 9 times. In his prime, on grand slams he would loose early to players like Martin Damm (thats right, WHO?!), Dominik Hrbaty, Dmitry Tursunov, Feliciano Lopez etc....

And then someone talks about him as one of the greats. Please....
Hrbaty leads the H2H against both Federer and Nadal... As well as Murray and Berdych.

Also tied H2H with Novak. He's a true GOAT candidate :p
 

90's Clay

Banned
If Nole goes against the 2000 USO or 2005 AO Safin, hes gonna get whipped around off the court with crazy power and depth shots. Nole can't counteract that being a backboard all match long.

Nole historically has had issues with the harder hitting, power players who can push him way back beyond the baseline.

Of Course, Safin's peak was just a cup of coffee so he Nole would win the majority of the matches but the Safin on those two days destroy any Djokovic you put against him
 

90's Clay

Banned
When it comes to peak level of play . the aggressor is almost ALWAYS going to beat the defender.

An aggressor's peak level of play is always 10 times more dangerous than a defender's peak level of play
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
The match they played in 2005 Australia was Djokovic's first GS match of his career so there really is no point in even talking about it. However, he should have been embarrassed after his performance in the 2008 Wimbledon match. Safin wasn't great by any means really and Djokovic couldn't find the court for most of the match. Maybe the wind had something to do with that but he should have put up a better performance against Safin on not his best surface. Peak to peak, it would go to Djokovic. He's just better overall and an all surface player. Safin could trouble him but guys who play that style that like Wawrinka, Soderling, Del Potro and Co. get blitzed in the head to head. He would definitely have figured him out.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
When it comes to peak level of play . the aggressor is almost ALWAYS going to beat the defender.

An aggressor's peak level of play is always 10 times more dangerous than a defender's peak level of play
Djokovic is an aggressor and a defender so that kind of throws your whole argument for a loop.
 

InsideOut900

Hall of Fame
There is too much to analyse and little data consisting of two matches they played.

The comparison of Safin with Stan is very poor in this case. AO2013 is like the only time Djokovic played good in their Slam meetings.AO2014 was satisfying although he could have done better and the other 3 were subpar,with emphasis on RG2015 and AO2015.

Taking their historical peaks,I would favour Djokovic on clay and grass(despite Safin's big game,his movement would be exposed),about
even on US hardcourt(Safin US 2000 vs Djokovic US 2011).AO has to be superinteresting,any of 08,11 or 13/16 semi Djokovic should be able to handle Safin of 05.

However over a series of matches Safin would have no shot,his injuries and inconsistency would betray him. Djokovic is exactly at the opposit end,superfit and godly consistent.
 

kalpab

Semi-Pro
They were born 7 years apart, which is huge. It's like talking about the rivalry between Federer and Enqvist (born 74). Sure Enqvist dominated the few encounters they had but come on, who in the world believes he would have maintained the dominance against n.1-in-the-world Federer ?

The AO in '05 can't really count as Djokovic hadn't developped his trademark style yet (that's early 2007).
However the match at WB '08 was great, Marat was really manhandling the ball despite the heavy wind.

I'd wager that, even if Safin took a 3-0 or 4-0 advantage, as Djokovic learned to cope with heavy hitting over the years, Safin would have gone the way of everyone else: down in the H2H.
(Also Safin was a headcase at times.)
Federer and Djokovic were born six years apart. Does it mean the rivalry makes no sense? Djoko's wins against present-day Federer don't count?
 
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Emperor of Belgrade

Guest
Federer and Djokovic were born six years apart. Does it mean the rivalry makes no sense? Djoko's wins against present-day Federer don't count?
One rivalry has had 47 matches so far. The other "rivalry" had 2.

Nice try, but Safin doesn't have a chance in this hypothetical of yours.
 

ABCD

Hall of Fame
Wait a minute. So are you implying that there are times during a player's professional career when they don't play as well as they do when they are peaking or when they are in their prime? You mean that all H2H matches aren't just a constant?

Say it isn't so...
They are not equal. They are just counted equally.
 
Djokovic is obviously a much better player overall than inconsistent underachieving Safin. However this is just a peak question, and peak Safin was a pretty scary proposition. Furthermore the small sample size that exists suggests Safin is a very bad match up for Djokovic.

Still Djokovic for sure on clay. He is just too superior there, even if in form Safin could play some really good tennis and could have even won a French had it come together the right year at RG. Grass I would have to say Djokovic based on his level of play demonstrated at Wimbledons 2011, 2014, 2015, even 2013 minus the final.
Still Safin much further out of his prime than Djokovic beat Djokovic at Wimbledon 08.

Hard courts and indoors both playing at a peak level would be a real war. Australia I would guess on Rebound Ace Safin in 5, on Plexicushion Djokovic in 4. U.S Open the Safin of the 2000 final would have a very good shot against any Djokovic thus far. Safin at his best would have a very good chance at an event like Cincinnati too, much less so at venues like Indian Wells or Miami. Indoors, it would depend a lot if we are talking the fast indoor courts, sometimes even including carpet courts, still around in the early 2000s, or the much slower indoor conditions of today.
 
I agree with @Navdeep Srivastava peak Safin has too much game for Djokovic at his best. It would be like playing Wawrinka at the AO, except with a better forehand and serve. I do think Novak would take at least a set though, his defensive baseline game is very good so he could probably frustrate Marat until he adjusted.
Does Safin really have a better serve? Wawrinka frequently hits in the mid 130s with very good placement when serving well.

I agree Safin probably has a better forehand at his best than Stan, but Stan's forehand is much more deadly than people realize. It seems he suffers from Henin syndrome, people don't recognize his great forehand because of his backhand. I don't like his technique with the stiff elbow, but it is effective, although it can lead to a ton of errors when his timing is off (but this is true of Safin's forehand too despite the much more proper technique).
 

6august

Hall of Fame
When it comes to peak level of play . the aggressor is almost ALWAYS going to beat the defender.

An aggressor's peak level of play is always 10 times more dangerous than a defender's peak level of play
Nadal says No.

This guy wins everything 10m behind the baseline collecting opponents' errors like a vampire sucks blood.
 

90's Clay

Banned
Nadal says No.

This guy wins everything 10m behind the baseline collecting opponents' errors like a vampire sucks blood.
Nadal was aggressive with his FH and put Fed back on his toes. . Nole isn't as aggressive as Nadal was in his prime really
 

SpinToWin

Talk Tennis Guru
Wait a minute. So are you implying that there are times during a player's professional career when they don't play as well as they do when they are peaking or when they are in their prime? You mean that all H2H matches aren't just a constant?

Say it isn't so...
Lol at the hypocrisy :D
 

NatF

Bionic Poster
Does Safin really have a better serve? Wawrinka frequently hits in the mid 130s with very good placement when serving well.

I agree Safin probably has a better forehand at his best than Stan, but Stan's forehand is much more deadly than people realize. It seems he suffers from Henin syndrome, people don't recognize his great forehand because of his backhand. I don't like his technique with the stiff elbow, but it is effective, although it can lead to a ton of errors when his timing is off (but this is true of Safin's forehand too despite the much more proper technique).
I was just messing around with that post for the most part. But being serious for a moment.

Wawrinka hits a big serve, but I think at his best Safin hit it a little bit harder. The edge is small though you're right. I certainly wasn't trying to say that Wawrinka couldn't be dangerous off the forehand side. It's a huge weapon for him when it's on. But I do think Safin's was better. Something else worth noting is that Safin is a clearly better returner.
 

SpinToWin

Talk Tennis Guru
If they play 5/5 matches peak to peak Djokovic wins 5/5.

If Safin catches Djokovic on a bad day he could win, but that would be impossible as this thread required both of them to be playing peak level of tennis.
Is that a fact or an opinion?
 

SpinToWin

Talk Tennis Guru
I was just messing around with that post for the most part. But being serious for a moment.

Wawrinka hits a big serve, but I think at his best Safin hit it a little bit harder. The edge is small though you're right. I certainly wasn't trying to say that Wawrinka couldn't be dangerous off the forehand side. It's a huge weapon for him when it's on. But I do think Safin's was better. Something else worth noting is that Safin is a clearly better returner.
I was expecting that to be the first thing to be mentioned to be honest haha
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
Nadal was aggressive with his FH and put Fed back on his toes. . Nole isn't as aggressive as Nadal was in his prime really
Then why does Djokovic almost always have more winners than Nadal when they play each other? Even in the 2013 US Open match where he lost in 4 sets, Djokovic outwinnered Nadal 46 to 27. Djokovic is definitely more aggressive.
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
Djokovic is obviously a much better player overall than inconsistent underachieving Safin. However this is just a peak question, and peak Safin was a pretty scary proposition. Furthermore the small sample size that exists suggests Safin is a very bad match up for Djokovic.

Still Djokovic for sure on clay. He is just too superior there, even if in form Safin could play some really good tennis and could have even won a French had it come together the right year at RG. Grass I would have to say Djokovic based on his level of play demonstrated at Wimbledons 2011, 2014, 2015, even 2013 minus the final.
Still Safin much further out of his prime than Djokovic beat Djokovic at Wimbledon 08.

Hard courts and indoors both playing at a peak level would be a real war. Australia I would guess on Rebound Ace Safin in 5, on Plexicushion Djokovic in 4. U.S Open the Safin of the 2000 final would have a very good shot against any Djokovic thus far. Safin at his best would have a very good chance at an event like Cincinnati too, much less so at venues like Indian Wells or Miami. Indoors, it would depend a lot if we are talking the fast indoor courts, sometimes even including carpet courts, still around in the early 2000s, or the much slower indoor conditions of today.
Safin could play some scary good tennis on fast indoor hard courts and carpet...see his runs in Paris/Madrid and some of his Davis Cup matches. Fast indoor hard courts basically don't exist anymore but given what we see from Djoker on fast outdoor hard (which barely exists) I'd favor peak Safin.

At the end of the day a focused and motivated peak Safin could take it to Djoker, or anyone really, anywhere, but that version of Safin never showed for an extended period of more than 3 or so months so it's a moot point.

I do agree that Safin should have been much better on clay/grass than he was. Part of the reason was that he didn't like moving on those surfaces and not having a sure base, but sometimes I thought that was just an excuse for him not to do better. Nothing he couldn't have gained comfort with had he worked on it and his game suited all surfaces really...penetrating groundstrokes and good touch are a big asset on clay. In his first grand slam ever, 98 RG, he beat Agassi and Kuerten back to back at just 18 years old. In 2000 he took Kuerten 5 at Hamburg. Also beat Ferrero on clay in 00 (where he took Kuerten 5 in the RG semis) and in 03 (which was his best on clay) but in the 02 RG semis which would have been a golden opportunity he was in lala land and ferrero crushed him. Definitely could have won a RG had he set his mind to it.

His serve and netgame would work well at Wimbledon as well as his flat backhand.
 
I was just messing around with that post for the most part. But being serious for a moment.

Wawrinka hits a big serve, but I think at his best Safin hit it a little bit harder. The edge is small though you're right. I certainly wasn't trying to say that Wawrinka couldn't be dangerous off the forehand side. It's a huge weapon for him when it's on. But I do think Safin's was better. Something else worth noting is that Safin is a clearly better returner.
I agree on all that, but while I do think Safin is a clearly better returner (and that is the biggest difference of all) it is worth noting he like Stan also struggles quite a big with really big serves. His head to head with Roddick and their matches are an example of that. He absolutely hated returning Roddick's serve and generally didnt do a good job of it. He also struggled quite badly with Fed's serve, which is one reason for the very lopsided head to head (particularly when unlike playing Roddick he ever cant afford to be giving up a significant gap in unreturned serves vs Fed). I guess the one contradiction to that is he performed very well overall vs Sampras it seemed, but other than the 2000 U.S Open I don't distinctly remember if there was a meeting of really good serving by Sampras returned outstandingly by Safin or not, regardless of wins or losses.
 

Noelan

Legend
He should be removed.
I mean if that helps him to sleep at nigths we should let him .:) Maybe I'm just tired of this peak to peak nonsense
But the fact that he proudly parading here with the match in which Djokovic was 18yo qulafier in his frist GS and got destroyed by future tournament winner as some evdence is beyond ridicoulos.

Anyway look at them at the net after match was finished . Novak hasn't changed a bit in that regard ;)
 
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