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.