This match (Austrlian Open 2014 Semis) seemed to prove with finality that the match-up so favors Nadal that Federer simply has no way out. His disadvantage is etched in granite.
This statement right here proves why Fed can never be called the Greatest Ever. When he knows he has a clear disadvantage why is he stubborn to play the same way over and over and over again. He is a very poor tactician then. His coaches tell him nothing about how to beat Nadal or he doesn’t listen to them.
Federer has only 1 way to play the game and that is relentless attacking, he cannot adapt his game to beat an opponent. Granted, it has worked well against almost everyone else, but when it is not working against Nadal, why not try something out of the ordinary. And he should have tried something like this years and years ago when he knew the match up was an issue.
Nadal, on the other hand is a problem solver. He was having a lull period against Djokovic in 2011 and then early in 2012, but he came up with solutions to try to come out of his comfort zone. He also could have very well accepted the fact that his normal strategy works against every player on the tour except Djokovic but unlike Federer, Rafa tried to alter his game plan and the results were there for everyone to see. He turned a 0-7 to a 6-1 head to head at one point.
Being greatest ever is not only about “raw talent” which Federer has in abundance, it is about trying to come up with solutions when things are not going your way and in that department Nadal is way ahead of Federer.
There are many facets while judging a player and except for “raw talent”, Nadal trumps Federer in every other facet, be it Tenacity, will power, athleticism, strategy, mental strength or adaptation. Finally Sampras had Agassi and Nadal had Djokovic. Federer pretty much folded when he got a great rival.