It's because of marketing.
Nadal was marketed as a "rebel" by Nike with the sleeveless shirts and capris in contrast the already established classic image of his main rival, Roger Federer(who had already dumped his locks by 2005). Youngsters will automatically go towards anyone that looks like he challenges the establishment somewhat, or at least one that looks "cool". Of course those guys also need to be succesful, not just have a "cool" look.
Roger himself was made to look like a "rebel", not like Nadal, but through a campaign with other up and comers, with the message "younger,faster,stronger" and it's no coincidence that this "New balls please" campaign was made back in 2002 with players whose style would appeal to young people(and because they were young themselves).Roddick,Hewitt,Grosjean pose with their caps on backwards, Roger,Haas,Guga all have long hair.
In marketing, you're not selling their tennis, but their image. Sure, their tennis does matter in the overall image but only to an extent. Most kids couldn't tell you what types of strokes Nadal uses but they like the fact that he never gives up(heroics and all that). A lot of youngstersthat became Fed fans when he was coming up couldn't give you technical details about his game but they were amazed at the ease with which he could do certain things on court.
The main reason why youngsters today gravitate towards Nadal(and partly Djokovic, you will see) doesn't have to do with tennis but with the fact that they are young and succesful, something which they wish to be. They can identify more(and maybe seek to emulate) with the 24-25 year old succesful guys than with the past his prime 30 year old Fed(who has kids of his own).
Trust me, if Harrison or Raonic blow up big time, taking out big scalps along the way(preferably by winning slams), Nadal and Djokovic will be abandoned by the younger generation. As sad as it is, Nadal and Djokovic are the most succesful youngsters(or that still have a "young" image in marketing) that we have nowadays.
Last edited by namelessone; 05-08-2012 at 12:50 AM.