Originally Posted by Hitman
Peak clay was at RG 2008 only. He was anything but peak in the masters leading up to RG 2008. He was far more successful in 2010 in the buildup to RG than 2008.
It is in the way you play more than what you win, though this is obviously important as well.
Besides the blisters thing which made him lose in Rome against JCF, Nadal really looked nigh unbeatable in the 2008 clay season. And he took that confidence to grass and even HC for the remainder of the season.
I, like other Nadal fans, say peak because he was at his peak physically(was literally everywhere on court and he was rarely tired) and maybe even mentally. He escaped several times during that year in tight matches(Queens 2008 against Djoko, WB 2008 against Fed, in Olympics against Djoko) and he looked most improved(made his first HC GS SF that year). As he progressed through other surfaces, he did lose a bit of his clay edge though, that's my impression anyway.
The other clay iterations of Nadal are still impressive because he's in the very top echelon of CC'ers historically but I enjoyed the 2008 version the most. I could've easily gone for the 2010 version(clay sweep) or 2012 version(beats Djokovic in 3 clay meetings including RG) for better stories but in pure play level it is 2008 for me.