First of all, Federer has been a very great player from 03-12. His style of game has allowed him to play great tennis till this year. He did win Wimbledon and Madrid last year, among other tournaments, so he was hardly in severe decline. He also reached the Olympics finals last year. Noone equates Ferrer with Nadal on any surface. Federer was a great clay court player, but Nadal was better, much of which is due to mental toughness. Novak reached his peak in 11. When Roddick and Hewitt were beating Novak he was younger, and less experienced than they were. Now Novak has 6 slams, Roddick still has only 1, Hewitt 2. Laver won 5 slams, in the open era, after age 29. Rosewall won 4 slams after turning 33,in 68, when the open era began. I do not deny Roger's greatness, but he was a little lucky in his main competition 03-07. Had Nadal and Novak been at their best at that time perhaps Roger would still have won all those slams. Most likely, not, though he certainly would have won some of them, especially on grass.
Yes federer played at a high level generally from 03-12. He is a GOAT contender but no one else in the OPEN era accomplished the same level Post 27.
You bring up players from the Pre Open era. The competition was split and you only had to play 4rds to win a Pro slam .
The courts were faster and the was no HC SLAM to injure the human body. Skill had a lot to do with results. That's why laver won the GS at 31 years and rosewall competing at slams from 34/35 years. They didn't have much mileage .
Today's game is stamina / physical based. If it was skill based fed would destroy nadull n Novak.
Especially if in the early open era they predominantly played on fast low bouncing grass.
Name any player who performed better post 26/27 than pre. With adequate mileage .
It's a different game althogether.
A few random wins by a great player 30 year old don't make it his Prime.
No where close.
Fed is good on Clay even great by some standards but its his weakest slam by Game not Nadull only
Before nadull even came in the Picture fed was losing on clay.
In 2003 fed lost to Luis horna in the 3rd rd. later that month he won Wimby.
In 2004 fed won 3 slams but lost to No hip guga in the 4rd.
From 2005 onwards with the decline of fererro/guardio/ coria etc the Clay era became weak and fedal took full advantage of it.
Novak era as we both agree Started in 2011. I mention Novaks loses as a response to you saying that when fed turned 25 years Novak and nadull stoped him which is false.
Fed was like29/30. Tell me which player plays great at 30 than before.
You say if Novak hit his Prime earlier he would stop fed. Where only in Austrailia and it will be close. They are split at RG but fed wasn't winning there anywhere.
Wimby fed wins
USO fed wins . 3-2 to fed. I don't see Prime fed losing to Many Match points against Novak.
AO Novak would be a real battle with Novak winning a few more.
However Nalbsndian n Safin beat fed at the AO also during his Prime. So is Prime Novak joining them or replacing them.
Career wise Novak would affect fed that much.
Yes Novak has 6 slams , that's his body of work. That started in 2011 not before his level Pre gluten free was that good apart from USO.
He had the same amount of slams than roddick until 2011.
Maybe the competition got weaker with fedal declining that he came to his own.
Nadull entered his Prime earlier. He only started making slams on HC in 2011.
If he had cost fed a slam here and there fed will get it back when he lost in the 1st or 2rd of Wimby.
Was absent from the tour resting his body etc etc.
In short nadull has not the all surface game to always be at the business end of slams.
I can't say who will we replace nadull with because he is Feds rival.