Originally Posted by GOAT BAAH!!!
The difference between Nadal and Murray or any of the other guys for that matter is that Rafa would've done everything in his power, even when getting destroyed by Novak, to make him suffer for 6 hours on the court in the hopes of getting the win. Even if it's for naught...the effort is unreal. These other guys seem bemused by high level play
That's why Rafa is important... when outmatched, he's one of the few guys in the game to step up, win or lose. He stood tall years ago when Federer was making a mockery of the rest of the field.
..and recently,when Djokovic systematically dismantled him match by match, Rafa continued to make finals, loss after loss until he eventually made a breakthrough.
None of these guys bring this consistently...
And when Novak was making a mockery of the rest of the field in 2011 (to arguably the same degree Fed did in your example) it was 29-30 year old Fed who stood tall and gave him a challenge, Nadal in one of his prime years was getting smacked 7 times in a row across different surfaces and couldn't even push their Wimbledon and USO matches to 5 sets, sure he got Novak in 2012 when Novak wasn't on that level anymore (heck Jo had him on the ropes at the FO) and that was on clay (where Nadal should still be at an advantage over everyone else).
Not to mention that Nadal had several straight set losses in slams when outmatched like say to Tsonga in 2008 AO, Murray in 2010 AO, Gonzo in 2007 AO, Delpo in 2009 USO etc. so no he doesn't always raise his level when outmatched.
You say Nadal made Novak suffer for 6 hours at last year's AO, well Murray gave Novak a heck of a match at AO last year as well and was almost as close to winning and that was against the Novak with a fresher set of legs than in the eventual final.
Sure this year's AO final was lackluster but Murray started having some physical issues and gave the best effort he could against a Novak who was playing better than in 2012 AO (especially serving much better), let's not belittle it, as I'm sure you're aware of Nadal's performance also at times suffered from some physical ailments and many bring down his loss (or poor performance atleast) to JCF in 2008 Rome down to blisters.
Is Nadal the mentally strongest player on tour? I'd say yes overall but the gap isn't nearly as big as you and some of his other fans make it out to be. That's not to say that the game doesn't miss him, it definitely does for various reasons (1st or 2nd most popular player at the moment, unique playing style, energy he brings on court, Ferrer being a weak link etc.).