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Fine line between great player and greatness

For better or for worse, Grand Slam titles are almost solely the currency by which greatness is measured, writes Greg Garber.

Updated: May 27, 2007, 3:34 PM ET
By Greg Garber | ESPN.com

PARIS -- Marat Safin, at 27, still cuts a relatively dashing figure. Think D'Artagnan a few swashes short of a buckle.

The strapping Russian, once ranked No. 1 in the world, is now No. 25, behind lesser lights like Jarkko Nieminen and Dmitry Tursunov. Crow's feet frame his brown eyes and his left knee complains on a daily basis. And yet, he has won more matches this year than he has lost, which counts for something.

Seven autumns ago, for two weeks, there was no one better ...

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