I'm pretty sure this has been
fought over many times with each thread getting closed after a while. It'll probably be a few more pages before this thread combusts as well.
The obvious answer is that in terms of tennis talent, it is Federer above Nadal by a good margin, while physical talent certainly Nadal takes the cake in general. However, both aspects, especially physical ability, are impossible to truly analyze. Federer never tries to outgrind his opponents, so perhaps his physical talent/abilities were even overrated in a way during his prime years but coincidentally working perfectly for his play style. While at the same time, Rafa's true tennis abilties are really tough to determine too for the opposite reason. He doesn't play many rallies where he places himself in a really uncomfortable situation requiring him to make some magic as often as maybe a Federer for example does. Sure, Rafa produces mesmerizing passing shots, but I think that has more to his athletic ability rather than his tennis abilties.
one evidence in my eyes that Nadal is greatly talented : his game is greatly effective, esp. his spinnning abilities ... but why can no other player play the same way ?
Fed has a great technique but which others can approach or emulate, see Dimitrov for his shots, "only" he lacks his footwork.
Nadal ? nobody can play like him !
Both because of his athletic abilities and his hand abilities imo. I think you need to be incredibly strong to play his game so effectively (usually players who play with a lot of spin tend to play too short, that's always been their problem, it also was a problem for Nadal initially on hardcourts).
As for the legend "Nadal could only play on grass because he worked a lot and completely changed his game" has he really changed his game that much ? and at just 17 years old (yes the age Quinzi will be in 2 months) he already reached 3rd round in Wimbledon defeating Mario Ancic ! His movement on grass has always been genious !
The spinning ability... obviously much credit has to go for Rafa, but without a doubt, technology is what has allowed him to do such a thing. Even then, there are players on tour who can rival the amount of spin and pace he places on the ball. His success doesn't stem from being "unique" but rather a combination of mental and physical abilities.
The Wimbledon success, you have to be quite soft to say such a thing. Yes, it was a very good effort on Rafa's part of course, but he got a very good draw. Ancic is obviously a great opponent, but at that point of Mario's career, the only notable thing was still defeating Federer the previous year. Either way, if one wants to compare, Federer for example drew Jiri Novak and Kafelnikov the first times he went to Wimbledon. Rafa played Lee Childs in the second round, just another hyped and lost Brit. Either way, I would still be entirely skeptical of Rafa's success against serve and volleyers on the grass of the previous decades. Rafa doesn't have a return like Agassi, and his baseline game heavily relies on the other player willing to try to out grind him, not to mention how far he stands back regardless of the slight adjustment he makes when he plays on grass.