Brumby_in_Vic wrote:How can a pub pundit decipher that? Safin, Hewitt and Roddick (he is a year younger than Federer) had their latter years ruined by injury. Del Potro is another player who is heading towards the same boat.
The big tournaments also changed balls and courts (particularly the Aus Open moving on from Rebound Ace) over that period of time which had an effect on how the players played the game.
Oh, I was going to mention (and readily accept) that this is an armchair pundit argument, and you are well within your rights to disagree.
Anecdotal as it is, I feel confident that most people would agree that Nadal, Djoko and Federer are ATG's. The likes of Murray and Wawrinka were able, on their day, to go toe to toe with said ATG's and win, making them particularly good players themselves.
The likes of Safin, Hewitt and Roddick are not ATG's, and tbf, are not even close. There may well be some quantitative metric that proves/disproves it, but from my perspective as said armchair pundit, and having watched tennis fairly regularly from the Sampras era on through, the levels of skill, endurance and ability appear to have been higher in recent years.
Simply put, the level of competition to win a Grandslam during the last several years is, in my opinion, significantly higher than the preceding period. If we are to then try and grade the difficulty of earning a Grandlsam from different era's, I think those early Fed ones were completed in a time where it was relatively easier.