I've long said that Nadal has a structural advantage in the race for #1 amongst the top players. This is because while the clay season is (too) short, he has the ability to totally clean up on clay. On hard courts all the top players (and others) will have to share the points. The way I see it - if Nadal dominates clay and just does as he usually does outside of clay - then he's #1. Infact he would have been #1 in 2005, 2006 and 2007 if it hadn't been for Federer turning in superhuman efforts. Neither Federer these days, nor anyone else can pull in that kind of effort this year.
So my theory is this: If Nadal can put in his "typical" season, like in 2006 or 2007, then he'll be #1.
Exactly, and well explained.
And that's also exactly why I am not buying any 'Roger doesn't care about tournaments outside GS anymore'-excuse. Roger knows what you've just explained above himself all too well, and realizes that he MUST do well/reasonable in at least a couple of MS/500/250 tournaments to indeed be able to overtake Pete's record.
Of course we'll still have to wait and see whether Nadal will indeed be able to repeat his awesome clay runs of the past couple of years, but unless he gets injured again, I expect he will.