Rafael Nadal has done it again, for the second time in 2017 he is a Grand Slam champion following his success at Flushing Meadows in New York. Cementing his seat as the current world No. 1, the 31-year-old Spaniard has put a safe gap between him and his closest rival, Roger Federer. As a matter of fact, Nadal and Federer are now balancing the sheet as each one of them has two Majors under his belt this season. But Nadal is the likely winner of the race simply because he has shown a higher level of consistency throughout the calendar. Unlike Federer who had some clear intentions skipping the clay court swing, Nadal went on to bid on every possible tournament.

Eventually, it paid off at 2017 US Open even though he had to recover after having a poor North American outdoor hard season where he lost early both in Cincinnati and Montreal.

Rafael Nadal with one of his best seasons in years

The final stages of 2016 saw a powerless, lacking-motivation Rafael Nadal, deciding to skip the whole thing in order to give his wrist a proper healing environment. He had quite a start reaching the final of the Australian Open, and despite losing that to Roger Federer, it was just the beginning of a new surreal year. Losing two more finals on hard court (Acapulco to Sam Querrey and Miami to Federer) didn't hurt him too much. He entered the clay court swing determined to bring his top game to the table.

Three titles in a row (Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Madrid) made the perfect warm-up party and confidence booster for the 2017 French Open where he later emerged as this year's champion capturing his 10th title on clay in Paris.

Once again, his form started to plunge a bit as the grass season saw Nadal unable to fully coop with the transition from a slow surface to a faster one.

The uncertainty had an unwanted path as the summer swing saw him scrambling to find some rhythm prior to the US Open. Suddenly, a flurry of absences from the main draw put Rafael Nadal in an unexpected position from where he was able to start a bid for his third US Open title.

Nadal is building momentum while Federer is losing his luster

En route to another US Open success, Nadal's path was below the average of a Grand Slam tournament's trajectory. Up to the semis, he had to deal exclusively with players from outside the top 50. As the odds seemed to work in his favor, he stepped in to seize the opportunity. A solid win over Juan Martin del Potro in the semis put him in the final where the unlikely candidate Kevin Anderson was overwhelmed by the things at stake.

On the other side, Roger Federer lacked luster in New York as he was struggling from the beginning. Surviving two five-sets thrillers in the opening rounds didn't help his cause at all.