He’s currently the best player in the world.
He has won two Grand Slams in succession this year: the French Open and Wimbledon.
He’s the first man to win the clay Slam: three Masters and the French title back to back.
He’s won more ATP titles this year than anyone else—five of them.
He guaranteed his place at the World Tour finals weeks ago.
He leads the tour by more than 3,500 points and cannot lose his No. 1 ranking—no matter what happens in New York this month.
He is the force of nature that is Rafael Nadal, and he is aiming to become the seventh man to complete a career Slam by winning this year’s U.S. Open title. At just 24 years of age, he would be the youngest man to do so.
The record is extraordinary, made even more so by having achieved so much during the heyday of a second giant of the game. Nadal and Roger Federer have contested 20 of the last 22 Grand Slam titles.
The Nadal dominance this year is reason enough to think he can indeed win his third straight major, the only one that has eluded him.
Yet he is not everyone’s favorite to win the final Slam of the year.
The reasons why start with—what else?