Andy Murray insisted it was his game plan not his head that was the problem as once againblocked his path to a grand slam final at the US Open.
For the third major in a row the world number four lost to his Spanish nemesis in the semi-finals to ensure his search for one of the sport's four biggest trophies goes on.
It was another courageous effort from Murray, who became the first player this tournament to take a set off Nadal, but it was not enough as the defending champion responded to triumph 6-4 6-2 3-6 6-2.
The Scot has now lost 13 of his 17 meetings with the man from Majorca, including the last five, but he cited wins at the US Open in 2008 and the Australian Open in 2010 as evidence Nadal does not have a psychological hold over him.
Murray said: "I have beaten him before twice, so, no, it's not the belief that's the problem. I just need to play the right way.
"I feel like on the hard courts is my best match-up against him. On the grass I definitely need to improve, and on the clay I definitely need to improve a lot to win against him. But I don't feel like I'm far off on the hard courts."
Murray felt he had been too aggressive after his four-set loss at Wimbledon in July and it was a similar story yesterday for two sets as the fourth seed committed too many errors.
The 24-year-old was certainly not helped by the rain-affected schedule, which forced both men to play three matches in three days. But, while Nadal had had an easy win over Andy Roddick on Friday, Murray took more than three hours to beat John Isner.
He said: "When you've played a long match the day before, you need to get the balance right.
"Anyone playing Rafa, you're going to play a lot of long rallies. So, if you can get some opportunities to try to shorten the points, then it would be good to do that.
"Once I went behind, I realised that wasn't working. And then the third and fourth sets I started being more patient and started picking the right moments to come forward."
Yesterday's semi-finals, the first of which featured an incredible comeback fromto beat over five sets, only served to illustrate what an incredibly tough task it will be for Murray to win a grand slam.
The Scot does not believe that is what defines him, though, and he said: "It's something I want to try and achieve but, if you want to judge someone's whole career based purely on slams, I would have had a terrible career.
"But I don't really feel like I have. There have been other things I've done well, and I've still got hopefully three or four more years where I'm playing at my peak.
"I need to stay healthy and improve, because if I don't then it's going to be difficult to win one. But if I do, then I'm getting a little bit closer each year. This year was the best year for me in the slams."
Murray will now head home to Scotland to link up with the Great Britain Davis Cup team ahead of next weekend's Europe/Africa Zone Group II promotion play-off against Hungary after confirming his hectic schedule has not put his participation in jeopardy.
The previous tie against Luxembourg was also held at Glasgow's Braehead Arena and it proved an emotional occasion for Murray, who broke down in tears a week after losing to Nadal at Wimbledon.
The Scot added: "I'm sure I'll enjoy it again and enjoy being with the team. I always enjoy playing Davis Cup."
Nadal and Murray are good friends and the Spaniard feels his rival has been unfortunate not to win a slam yet.
"When you are in semi-finals, when you are winning Masters 1000, the normal thing is to win grand slams," said Nadal. "So he's having a little bit of bad luck in these kind of matches.
"I played a very, very good match, my best match here. That's a little bit unlucky, too, because he's ready to do it.
"I think if one player deserves to win a grand slam, Andy is the one. I seriously believe he's going to do it, and I really wish him all the best, because I really want to see him win a grand slam."