It's cool to see so many actual discussions about tennis here. Big props to Emma, Rafa816, masterclass, swish and everyone else. Or maybe it's just cuz CD and Shank aren't here
Re: potential Berdych vs. Federer: I do think Berdych was the biggest threat to Federer but surprisingly they have only played on clay 3 times of their 17 meetings, all won by Federer, the most recent one and only one worth considering being in 2012 on the blue clay in Madrid where Federer won 7-5 in the third. The other two were in 2005,2006. So we don't have much to go on, but I would think the clay would neutralize Berdych's biggest weapons against Federer and give Federer a better chance to exploit Berdych's movement. I think Federer would have come out safe in 4 sets, much like Nadal did against an aggressive power-hitting Brands in the first round. Then again, Federer's only upset loss at RG in the past couple years was to Soderling, who's similar to Berdych in many regards. Regardless, yes, Berdych on paper is the biggest threat to Federer. But Tsonga has given Federer just as much of a fight in the past and has had some good matches on clay in the past.
Also Emma, it is interesting to see that Berdych does seem to get better later on in Slams. He's had 10 first round exits in his career which seems like a high number for a top player (have not compared) but yeah, he does seem vulnerable in the early stages.
Re: Murray on clay. It's surprising that he hasn't done more (won any clay titles) because he has had good runs in the past and has given Nadal tough matches and made it far. Even if you want to call him the "worst" top player on clay, he'd almost certainly have made his seeding, and the only people who could really take him in a best of 5 set clay (half of which he could win on fitness alone) apart from the top 4 are Ferrer, Berdych, Delpot, Tsonga and maybe someone like Stan or a young guy on fire that day. So yeah, calling him a nonfactor is kinda going far.
Re: confidence and arrogance. One thing to lay down here is that nothing any of the players are saying today would come close to being "arrogant" if it was said in the early 80s. The things that were said back makes today's arrogance seem nice. That said, every top player needs a healthy dose of confidence, bordering on overconfidence to truly assert themselves. This applies to Federer who has a million slams, Berdych who sees himself as an ever-dangerous threat and a top 10 contender, Gulbis who thinks he's more capable of winning than his ranking shows, and honestly, to anyone who plays professional sport with the aim to go all the way. Sure some people can manage it better and keep a humble profile in front of the media but you can see the ego/pride in any good player's eyes when he's receiving serve down matchpoints and right after that point.
I wouldn't call any player arrogant, just inexperienced in public relations, or honest to the point of not giving a crap what anyone else says. Federer calling Djokovic's Shot down matchpoint at the USO "lucky" definitely came off as arrogant but there was just as much truth and justification in it as Berdych naming his own forehand as one of the best, or Gulbis saying he's more talented than his ranking shows. It's what they believe in and have at least at times proven to the world. I think they are allowed to be arrogant to a certain extent as long as they can back it up - and they need to be borderline arrogant to stay strong and believe in their capacity, their RIGHT to win, that's the only way someone like Berdych or Gulbis can take down someone like Federer or Nadal. I am sure there's a lot of sport psychology around this but convincing yourself that you are worthy of beating a top player or winning a grand slam or being a certain ranking because you own a fearsome forehand or serve or whatever is MORE than half the battle - the other half being hitting the practice courts, but hitting the practice courts is often times the easier part, that's what they all do, it's their job. Novak was arrogant when he was young, Murray was not the most modest when he showed off his biceps after beating Gasquet in 5 at Wimbledon (promptly losing to Nadal in the next round), but that was all necessary and requisite in the making of the champion. Now they can afford to be humble and say "Yeah I'm looking forward to a good match against the qualifier in the next round", but in reality, they better be thinking "I'm a champion and a top 5 player BECAUSE of the blood sweat and tears I have put in and I am going to OWN this guy in the next round because I deserve to and it's the only reasonable outcome".
Long post but yeah. Confidence and borderline arrogance can help young players and it shows the fire is alive in players who have already "made it". Might not be sexy at times. Or is it.
I think Roddick (I miss this guy), had a healthy dose of confidence and entitlement without necessarily coming across as arrogant to the media. He's taken his shots at top players (Nadal, Djokovic) and when he played you could see the determination and entitlement show through, and that was what added to his somewhat intimidating aggressive aura even if his game wasn't always like that. Of course the serve helped.