(Original post by Pimped Butterfly)
You've said that misleadlingly. In an age without Federer on grass, Nadal would be +1 definitely (07), maybe +2 (06).
Which would still take him to 4th on the open Era list with 4 titles. Not to mention that would put him above Sampras and equal Federer (by deduction, although I think it could change Sun) on the all time Slam list.
In an age without Nadal on clay, Federer would be +4, probably +5 (05).
Which would take him to ~3rd on the Open Era list. Outside of just French and Wimbledon, of Fed's 7 finals defeats at GS's, only one has come to someone other than Nadal( Del Po). So without Nadal in the frame he'd be well out in front on the all time list.
The big talking point on the rivalry which is generally considered the greatest of all time will be the head to head, as above. Rafa beat Fed at the peak of his powers in one of the all time great matches, defining point in Rafa's grass legacy. Federer on the other hand only won the French in the year Nadal was eliminated unusually early, and will always be mentioned with Fed's career Slam. Nadal leads their h2d 23-10, and 9-2 in GS, those aren't close numbers so I don't think the case for Rafa not being as good as Fed can be made, its outside their matches which has decided the slam tilt.
Either way, either of their careers will be defined by the other, and the lacking points in their legacy will be always be tapered with the strength of tennis in this era which will include Djokovic too. Hence I think their GS records will always be skewed compared to come from other era's, 3 all time greats active at once.
Federer's consistency at the French is unreal. In 2011, post his peak, up against Djokovic on a 40 match year unbeaten streak, he burned him. It was a classic display and just evidence that even someone as good as Novak was playing couldn't mess with Roger on clay.
Federer's consistency and longevity, probably heavily as a result of his classy and graceful style of player will be what separates the two players, same as Woods-Nicklaus, talent will not be considered the deciding factor. Fed's semi final streak is testament to his consistency both physically and mentally. We'll see with Nadal, if he can come back and win another couple, people will talk about his resilience. He's knees haven't been as much of an issue, although you'd question whether he can play at the intensity needed for top, without them becoming an issue.
(Original post by Depleted)
And begin the Federer/Nadal cockwavers, not too dissimilar to the CR7/Messi fanboys.