Andy Murray claimed he was back at “square one” but will “shoot for the stars” and try to win more Grand Slam titles after a crushing defeat to Felix Auger-Aliassime at the US Open.
The Canadian, 20, destroyed the double Olympic champion in ruthless style to win 6-2 6-3 6-4 in two hours and seven minutes.
The No.15 seed hit 52 winners – against only nine by Murray – and did not face a break point.
It was a chastening defeat for Murray, 33, in his first Grand Slam back with a metal hip.
But the three-time Major winner, who was playing only his second event of the year, said: “I would say even after tonight I’m more positive about what I could do in Grand Slams than I was before I came over here.
“You guys obviously don’t know how I was feeling even just a couple of months ago.
“So to come over here and play, you know, I played a couple of tough matches in Cincinnati and I played certainly one very tough match here, and my right hip felt good. That’s really, really positive.
“There are other things that need to get better, but I would say that I’m more positive now than what I was a couple of months ago, that’s for sure.
“In terms of winning Grand Slams again, that’s going to be extremely difficult to do.
Asked if he had taken a step over the last two weeks, he said: “I don’t know what I was expecting. The No. 1 priority for me was that my hip was good, and it coped really well with a five-set match. Which lots of people, myself included, weren’t sure how I was going to do with that and actually coped relatively well the other day against a very tough opponent. So that was positive.
“I feel like I’m back at square one having not played in slams for a few years, I need to build up my body and my physical conditioning so that, you know, I have the ability to back up five-set matches.
“That takes a bit of time, unfortunately. Well, for me, anyway. Maybe other players it doesn’t.
“I wasn’t that happy with how I played in the matches over here, to be honest. I would have liked to have played better tennis.
“So that’s something that needs to improve, for sure. There is things in my game that need to sharpen up, and, you know, they are not physical things.
“That’s just, you know, my timing and, you know, getting time on court against, you know, good players that are hitting a big ball.
“Because you practice as much as you want with, you know, your coach or, you know, juniors, but playing against guys that are serving 135, 140 miles an hour and hitting the ball huge from the back of the court, you know, your timing needs to be spot on.
“So the more I get exposed to playing with better players and practicing with them, the better for me just now.”