Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter

MASON (CBSMiami/AP) – Some players will ease up as the end of the season approaches, and some go in the opposite direction.

READ MORE: Zoo Miami Helps Discover A Brand New Spider Species In Miami

Rafael Nadal hopes his hard work will pay off in a rewarding end of the season, starting this week in Cincinnati and extending into the U.S. Open.

The eighth-ranked Spaniard comes into the Western & Southern Open after losing to No. 4 Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals of the hard-court Rogers Cup in Montreal.

Nadal said Monday that “this is an important week for me.”

READ MORE: Second-Largest Solar Roof In South Florida Capable Of Providing 100% Of Energy Needs For Building

He adds: “I played OK in Montreal, but every week is a different test – a different story. I’m working more than ever to change the dynamic.”

That would mean avoiding the injuries that have plagued him over the past few years, including 2014, when he was unable to defend the 2013 championships he won in Cincinnati and at the U.S. Open.

Nadal says: “The last part of the season is important. I want to finish feeling better than when I started.”

MORE NEWS: The Turtle Hospital Celebrates Earth Day, And Saving Turtles, Every Day Of The Year

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)