2007 will be tougher year for Rog than this year was for various reasons:
1. Roddick was nowhere near his best tennis for 1st half of the year but he is a different player right now. He pretty much outplayed Roger (who played very well too) at TMC but choked when he had matchpoints.. He will be pushing Roger hard next year.
2. Safin getting back to form (slowly) after a very miserable year. Here is another player who can challenge Roger if playing his best stuff.
3. Gasquet, Baghs, Murray, Djokovic, Berdych all will be 1 year older and more mature and physically stronger next year. Some of them (Gasquet, Murray and Berdych) already beaten Roger and are very hungry for success.
4. Nadal still unbeaten on clay since?? what seems like forever. Someone will have to take him out at RG for Roger to win it.
So, thats my take on it, I still think Roger will finish as number 1 but something tells me he won't win all 4 majors (maybe 2) and won't have 8000 + ranking points at the end of it.
1. The year-end Championships format is by far Roddick's best chance to beat Federer in a match. Federer builds as events go on, he still plays at a very high level in early rounds but there is huge difference in his level of play at the start of an event to by the very end, moreso then alot of other players. Federer in theory is much more vurnerable in early rounds of events, but he does not play the players at the very top who are the only ones who would have been good enough to beat him at even that particular level that early in normal tournament format. The year-end Championships is the only event you can catch Federer in 1st or 2nd match form, you wont fact that in any other tournament. In addition to that it is a best 2-of-3 as some other tournaments are, but not any of the grand slams. It is much harder for Roddick to beat Federer in a best 3-of-5 then a best 2-of-3.
Roddick was struggling in the first half of last year, you are right. He is playing much better now and it is good to see. But he has been at his best many lengths of time before that and he is still 1-12 against Federer. Just because he is not in a slump does not mean he is going to beat Federer, particularly in a Grand Slam event. I doubt he will.
2) Safin is 2-7 against Federer. Even in 2002 when Safin was a top 3 player and Federer was a developing product Federer owned Safin head to head and dusted him a few times. In Safin's very good 2004 he went 0-3 with Federer. In the 2005 Australian Open semis Safin played the 2nd best match of his career, after the 2000 U.S Open final with Sampras,
Federer played a good but not great match for his standards, and Federer still squandered a match point chance with a silly shot. I doubt Safin ever beats Federer in a Grand Slam again. He is regaining his form somewhat but the best is behind him, and another win over Federer in a Grand Slam would be a miracle for hiim.
3)Berdych beat Federer at the 2004 Olympics, an event tennis players dont give a damn event, when Roger was worn out from an overly condensed schedule. Roger played his worst match of the year probably, making about 70 unforced errors in 3 sets to only about 40 for Berdych and still missed a match point. Federer was a spent force at the Olympics and was going to lose to anybody at some point before the semis. Federer since then has played Berdych alot of times, including 3 times last year and had a very easy time with him. Berdych's power does not bother Federer, and he has no other plan to go to. Gasquet has only beaten Federer on clay, he took him to 3 sets twice last year, but their meeting at the event that really mattered-Wimbledon, Federer totally outclassed Gasquet hitting 31 winners to his 5 or something and winning in easy straight sets. Bhagdatis overachieved last year to even do what he did, dont look for him in a slam final, and 2 slam semis next year. I like Djokovic alot but he has shown neither the physical or mental stamina or strength to beat the big guns in the later stages of a slam, recall his pathetic default vs Nadal in the French Open quarters due to "fatigue" and his pathetic performance vs Hewitt at the U.S Open. Murray beat Federer in a match Mary Carillo and other noteable analysts accused Federer publicly of "tanking" the match since he did not really want to play back to back Masters after all his 3 setters in Canada, whether you agree with this or not the fact that one would even think such a thing should tell you more then what you need to know. Murray might pull an upset nonetheless next year in a best-of-3 tournament, not a best-of-5 Grand Slam.
4)The level Nadal is playing at, and the success he is having on non-clay surfaces is currently not enough to resume his normal dominance of clay next year unless something changes between now and next years clay court season. The fact Federer has beaten him a couple times in big matches since the French Open means he will have a totally different mentality
playing Nadal even on clay then he has in any of their previous matches on clay. As much as one assumes Nadal would always lose to Federer on surfaces like indoor hard court, and definitely grass, there probably was an underlying thought Nadal was his nemisis to the point if he was ever playing well enough to reach Federer he did not know if he would beat him.
Beating Nadal in straight sets on hard courts, even indoor hard courts in their last match, and really dominating the match shows to me momentum of the rivaly going in Federer's favor, and if Federer believes when he next plays Nadal on clay that he will win the match, he probably will. The only way to beat Federer is to create doubt in his head, if that doubt is descipitating it will be hard for Nadal to even beat him on clay next year.