Originally Posted by zagor
Taking out someone no problem is beating him 7-6 6-1 6-1 or 6-4 6-3 6-3, Fed can still push Nadal (and thus tire him out) and Murray has improved since 2011 so yes if Nadal gets to #5 beating Fed and Murray back-to-back with Novak waiting in the final would be a tough scenario for him off clay.
Sure Nadal beat 3 times in a row but that was on clay, whenever Nadal returns he'll still be the big favourite against anyone on clay, that won't change anytime soon but it doesn't make him a favourite against Novak in AO, USO or even Wimbledon (even though he's a better grasscourter overall).
Regarding 2012 AO, I could just as easily say that Novak should have wrapped up that match in 4 sets.
Totally agree. It is bad enough for these elite players to have to face two of the others back to back, but if you have to run the guantlet of facing three of them in a row, on a surface that you are least comfortable on, the challenge is not a walk in the park.
If Nadal does drop to five after AO, he won't be gaining any ground until after RG, since he has a massive amount of points to defend. There is strong likely hood that going into the second half of the season, he would regularly have to go through potentially a much tougher draw, if its is Federer, Murray, Djokovic in any order.