just a little interesting thing i noticed with safin. i think he plays better against a player - his best - AFTER he's lost to them. evidence: safin lost to sampras at the us open 6-4 6-3 6-2 in 1998. the next grand slam match they play (2000 US Open) safin defeats sampras in the final by a very similar scoreline: 6-4 6-3 6-3 and by what many consider to be his most sublime performance. safin loses next grand slam match 6-3 7-6(5) 6-3 at US Open to Sampras and the next time they meet at the Aus Open, he defeats Sampras 6-2 6-4 6-7(5) 7-6(10). Safin v Sampras grand slam record: 2-2 to add some depth to my argument, Safin loses to Federer 7-6(3) 6-4 6-2 in the final of the 2004 Aus Open only to come back in the semis a year later at the Aus Open to defeat Federer 5-7 6-4 5-7 7-6(6) 9-7 . Safin v Federer grand slam record: 1-1. and finally Safin v. Nalbandian. Safin wins in 2002 roland garros then Nalby wins 2004 roland garros. Safin wins 2006 us open. now im thinking if im betting man, Nalby is due in their next slam match. i dont know how his head-to-head with other players in grand slam matches stacks up but if it's anything like the two above, i think there can be a argument made that Safin plays his best when he loses to a player and meets them again on the biggest stage - grand slams because he has extra motivation. i think this supports what most people say about Safin: if only his head were into it, he'd have more grand slam titles.