I guess I agree mostly with you, just the mental thing. I don't think Fed has mental block with Rafa. I will give you my reasons.Well, we'll have to disagree then. I've given as much 'proof' that I can that bad and good match up exists and are part of the sport. If you chose to not take that into account, fine by me.
Btw - I don't just brush it off. I have it as an extra explanation for the results, we've seen. But that doesn't seem that Federer cannot be criticized for not being able to handle the many defeats better mentally and coming up short at crucial moments (that drop shot a couple of mm out that threw him off in the FO 2011 final for example). And not edging out more of the close ones (Fed's win have - mainly - been quite clear, whereas Rafa has won the majority of the close ones they've fought).
Fed's game is firstly more aggressive, plays on the edge more. So, he makes a bit more mistakes in tight situations. But he makes more winners too. And people just remember negative stuff more and only vs Rafa. Our brain works this way. If we analyze, Fed does tons of crazy shots vs everyone in important moments. People just remember those vs Rafa more, since he is more famous and they watch their matches more. And people only remember losses more, people forget hundreds of times where Fed's shots did land in and worked.
After 2008, He was losing to all sorts of people, not just Rafa. And Fed had more problems vs certain players from the start, before they could "get into his head". Teen Rafa beat him the first time on HC. Mentality didn't matter, it's the matchup. Matchups do exist in any 1v1 sport and game. It can be proven easily: A beats B, B beats C, C beats A.
So, we have two options. Fed is mentally weak in general vs all people, or not mentally weak at all. Because those patterns he displays are not vs Rafa only. People just remember them more vs Rafa, for obvious reasons.
But, tennis is 50% mental. So, if Fed were mentally weak, no way he wold win so much. Because there are so many talented players who due to mentality don't achieve almost anything.
So, let us see the real explanation for the h2h. It is complex, there are many reasons. Some theory is that Rafa is simply better. But the evidence of Fed having 4-times better record on HC/grass at the same age, says, this is not the case.
So, what is it? Partly it's a bad matchup. Partly it's age, since Rafa got to Fed mostly when Fed declined. Partly it's they didn't play much on Fed's surfaces during his prime. Partly it's Rafa didn't make tons of finals during Fed's peak on Fed's surfaces. Partly it's Rafa being an amazing player in the first place to take advantage of that.
I guess this anomaly is explained now. This is my theory. I think most reasonable people accept this and don't use the h2h against Fed in the grand scheme of things.