Originally Posted by single_handed_champion
Nadal is popular because he came up as Federer's nemesis. Fire vs ice, grit vs silk, rough-hewn vs smooth, counterpuncher vs attacker, moonball vs flatball (not to put him down, just wanted something concise here
). In addition, you can see the effort that goes into his game, which I think appeals to the common man.
Everything Djokovic is known for (defensive gets, physicality) was first spoken of in association with Nadal, even if he is better in some respects perhaps. Djokovic also has no unique shots or on-court persona.
I think people are attracted to Nadal's competitive atitude. They appreciate his fist pumps, vamoses, and amped up approach to the match. Nadal also helps this image by giving interviews that make him seem like Rocky Balboa.. "Thank you everybody for the support. I will try my best and keep fighting like I have my whole life".