Rafael Nadal Remains Favorite Despite Tough Road to Second U.S. Open Title

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIAugust 26, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 24:  Rafael Nadal of Spain looks on during a practice session ahead of the 2013 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 24, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
Dan Istitene/Getty Images

During the 2013 season, men's tennis has been dominated by Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal. Nadal has an ATP Tour-best record of 53-3 with nine singles titles, which is more than Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have combined.

Even with a difficult road to his second career U.S. Open title, Nadal remains the favorite to win it all.

Nadal's dominance in 2013 has been unparalleled, as he's been able to thrive on every surface. Nadal won the 2013 French Open title, as well as overcoming an early exit at Wimbledon by winning both the ATP Rogers Cup and Western & Southern Open during the month of August.

In truth, Nadal won the Summer hard court season.

Talk about a momentum-builder.

Ranked players on Nadal's half of the bracket include No. 13 John Isner, No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber and No. 27 Fernando Verdasco. There's a legitimate possibility that Nadal faces at least two of those players before or during the fourth round.

Come the quarterfinals, Nadal is also in line to take on Roger Federer.

With Isner at the top of his game, taking Nadal to the limit at the finals of the Western & Southern Open, he is sure to be a challenge. Kohlschreiber is a consistently tough out, while Verdasco reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.

As for Federer, we need not remind the world of the rivalry between those two.

In 2013, Nadal has reminded the world that, when healthy, he remains the class of men's tennis, winning on multiple surfaces and dominating in a fashion only comparable to Federer's late 2000s reign of terror. Nadal owns 12 Grand Slam titles and is one of seven men to complete the career Grand Slam.

With eight French Open titles, two at Wimbledon and one at both the Australian Open and U.S. Open, Nadal is as successful as any player not named Federer or Pete Sampras.

If that's not enough, Nadal and Andre Agassi are the only two men to win the career Golden Slam as singles players. The only other singles players to achieve the feat are Steffi Graf and Serena Williams.

Throw in the fact that Nadal has won a Grand Slam event in a record nine consecutive years and legendary becomes a fitting adjective—and that's exactly why he shouldn't be fazed by his tough bracket.

Nadal has made four consecutive appearances in the semifinals of the U.S. Open, also reaching the finals in 2011 and winning it all in 2010. That level of success is not only impressive but proven over a long period of time.

No matter how strong the competition may be, Nadal is the undeniable favorite for the 2013 U.S. Open title. Until he's unseated, his reign will continue.