nobody would be able to deal with rafa's topspin if federer cannot, yeah right........
kuerten was clearly better than federer on clay........
the point about blake and youzhny is that - if they could do well against rafa even on hardcourts, far superior players like guga and fed are certainly expected to do well against rafa........
federer couldn't because his backhand is crap compared to guga's and nadal exposed it to an extent that fed finally got to a point that he started resigning mentally........now with kuerten i am not saying that he would dominate or something but i am willing to bet that his backhand and overall clay game would hold up much better against rafa........and i have reasons to believe so.......
guga is 6'4" or something, with a strong backhand, one of the best DTL(a key shot with which djokovic has time and again suceeded against rafa), great endurance from the back........someone as great as ferrero was regularly routined by guga........
i can't believe that you guys think fed is better than guga on clay........
unless you misinterpreted my line "Even if you give the backhand edge to Guga, he doesn't compare up to Fed and no where close to Nadal on clay.", nowhere have I said that Fed was better than Guga on clay. I am saying Fed is overall the far better player. And as far as comparing him to Guga on clay, I don't want to get into that primarily because I have watched very little of Guga and I can only call upon stats and I am positive that stats show Federer in better light even on clay, but those are just stats right? I forget if you're one of the people who believes stats are everything or that stats are nothing, either way you are one of the people who'll argue in the most condescending fashion regardless, making any discussions mostly moot, but you do bring up good points so I don't mind taking the time to reply occasionally.
I am saying Guga's backhand might hold up better than Fed's does against Nadal on clay, but let's not forget that the backhand is just the weak wing Nadal takes advantage of against Federer. Against most other players he takes apart their whole game, whether it be neutralizing their serve by returning 15 feet behind the baseline, by outlasting them in rallies and physical stamina, by being so good at retrieving and defending that most shoemakers will eventually succumb to errors.. and by attacking when the player is not upto the level of putting him under pressure. So even if Guga's DTL backhand might be great and his backhand might be superior to Federer's, his serve, his forehand, his overall skills, his fitness are not either on par or subpar to Federer's and Nadal can easily capitalize on all that. Federer stays in matches with Nadal on clay because he does have a great forehand, a great serve, he does try to be the aggressor - and he is let down because Nadal is smart and targets his weaker wing. Nadal would just have to develop a different game plan against Guga if what you say about his backhand being less susceptible than Federer's is true.
Also, Guga's best surface by far was clay. When was the last time that someone who calls clay their best surface defeated Nadal? The past few notable wins against Nadal on clay were by Djokovic, Federer, Soderling ... I can't think of too many but the point is the people who seem to have the best chance are not your typical clay courters at all. Even the ones who have given him most trouble are people like Gulbis, Isner, Davydenko and folks who can and do play on top of the baseline and go for it. I know Guga was decent on other surfaces as well but would anyone really dispute that he was by far the best on clay and therefore closer to being a typical clay courter than not?
Lastly, someone "as great" (in quotations because i am fairly positive you have ripped him apart in the past as someone useless) as Ferrero was regularly routined by Ferrero? Ferrero leads Guga 3-2 Head to Head, 2-2 on clay with each of them splitting the 2 5 setters they played and straight setting each other comfortably once. I fail to see the point you are trying to make here. By contrast Federer has been far superior to any other clay courter of today (and let's not get into weak eras and weak clay courters because that is not the topic at hand, we are by definition comparing a clay court king from an older era to clay court king who is playing in current era)
Out of curiosity, these are his Rome results:
2003 Lost to Gaudio (#34) in round 1
2002 Lost to Montanes (#61) in round 2
2001 Lost to Ferrero (#9) in Final - wins over Corretja and Chang
2000 Lost to Norman (#4) in Final - wins over Costa(#21) and Corretja(#11)
1999 WON d. Rafter(#4) - wins over Corretja(#7) and Kafelinkov(#1)
1998 Lost to Rios (#3) in Semi - no notable wins
1997 Did not play.
And what the heck, here are his Monte Carlo results
2003 Lost to Norman (#94) in round 2
2002 Did not Play
2001 WON d. Arazi(#53) - wins over Coria(#41)
2000 Lost to Kucera (#42) in round 1
1999 WON d. Rios(#13) - wins over Mantilla(#17)
1998 Lost to Pioline (#16) in round 3
1997 Lost to Dosedel(#51) in round 1
I don't know when you consider his peak but he won RG in 97, 2000 and 2001. And won 11 of his total 20 titles including 4 of his total 9 final appearences all in 2000 and 2001. Sure he was injured a lot and this and that but overall he's taken his fair share of losses to normal players and clay courters along his career and even in his peak years and even on clay. The only clay courter he seems to have owned is Corretja. Apart from that his loses at the two big Masters events have come to people anywhere in top 100 - that's not exactly a great clay court record by the standards set by Nadal, Federer, and Novak.
Oh and might I remind you, should you use injury as an excuse for Guga's losses, that an uninjured Nadal never loses to anyone, and on clay even an injured Nadal beats upon the best of the best. And even Guga at his best has had his share of questionable losses while Nadal at his best on clay... well we all know. Final conclusion? Guga was an excellent clay courter, but does not stand a CHANCE against Nadal on clay.