Nadal has fond memories of Cincinnati

Despite a poor season, Rafael Nadal is hoping for repeat success at the Western & Southern Open this week in Cincinnati.

The Spaniard was the 2013 champion of the hard court event, defeating the big-serving John Isner in straight sets in the final. 

However, in 2015, the former world number on arrives in the Queen City seeded eighth and struggling for form.

"I hope I have a second part of the season that's a little bit better than the first," the 14-time grand slam winner told 

"Obviously, the second part of the season is a little bit more difficult for me. We don't have clay out there. For me, more than results, is finishing with the feeling that I did things better, that I was improving in my game.

"I have been playing better than the beginning of the season the last couple of months I think even if I lost a few matches that I'm not happy with. I have been playing a bit better but every week is a different story…and I know that the work when you are coming from a bad moment, the work is triple."

Nadal has but three titles under his belt for the 2015 season so far, but none of them Masters 1000 titles or grand slams. In fact, the world number eight has failed take the semi-finals of a tennis major for the first time since 2004.

The Manacor-native insists that he still has the skills to beat the best and that his current loss of form is a mental issue.

"It's much more mental and tennis work than when you’re in a normal situation or in a good dynamic," he added.

"So that's what I'm accepting and doing to try to change the dynamic and to try to feel more confident and comfortable on court."

The 29-year-old awaits the winner of the match between Jeremy Chardy and Rajeev Ram in the second round in Cincinnati.