I said I think Federer is a consistent top4 performer. With that I meant he isn't losing often to anyone outside the top4. And I don't think a non top4 ranking or seeding will change that. Of course it's harder to get back in the top 4 than to stay in the top4 because these days the top4 perform a lot better and more consistent than all other players.
OK, let's say Federer is ranked 5 and draws Nadal in every slam QF. Nadal would win at least two AO and RG matches. That's two QF exits for Federer. At Wimbledon and USO, if he does beat Nadal and reach the semifinal, he would have to face another top 4 player and he would be a dog there too.
Listen to this then, in 2014-2015 everyone in the current top 5 will be in declining years. There will be no dominant force, power players touching 30 (Berdych, Tsonga) retiring and youths wont be able to fill shoes from previous generation. Djokovic and Murray at 28 with a faster decline than Federer, inconsistency and mediocrity will dominate tennis like the late 90s and early 00s.
Let me remind you how it goes; one day Rios, then Moya, then Kafelnikov nr1. Agassi at 33 winnign slams against the likes of Schuettler and Clement in finals, Johansson winning slams.
Federer at 33-34 could be in for a good time if healthy. Winning one slam here and one there without even playing Djokovic, Murray or Nadal. How about Federer-Nishikori in Australian open final 2014? Or Federer-Tomic in Wimbledon 2015?
See, I think Federer and his team have seen what lies beyond the current strong top 4 and it is a wasteland! He can hang in there even with a weak 2013, the Djokovic decline is on the horrison and the Nadal decline is happening at full speed right infront our eyes.
Slope of the Federer decline is not falling at such degree that he will be losing slams to Tomic, Harrison or Raonic the next 2, 3 years.
And you think Djokovic doesn't see that?
Or Murray? Or Del Potro? Or Nadal of course.
Some of them might have a more physical approach to the game, but it's not as dramatically different as MTF sometimes puts it. Del Potro, injury free, could also play by age of 35 going by that logic (less grinding = more longevity). The key factor is the motivation of these players.
No, it doesn't. Federer has won two out of three against Nadal on grass, losing in a banner year for Nadal and a poor one for himself. This year has not been like that. He would be heavy favourite to win, especially considering the weather - a large part of the match would be played indoors. Nadal plays much slower than Murray, so the roof would come out in the 2nd set.
As for "just had to show up in the final" - how easy do you think it is to reach a Wimbledon final? Nadal managed five times. Excellent. But that does not mean he can book his place there every year.
Federer's ranking will of course eventually drop. He will most probably maintain top-3 longer than Nadal, though. It appears likely now that when he finally drops it will be Djokovic, Murray and Del Potro that passes him, but things happen quickly so one never knows.
The weather is the only thing that could help him. Though, had Nadal been marching into the final, things would look different. It's not a given that Federer would reach the final then. He surely wouldn't be as motivated as when knowing Murray was waiting there.