Andy Murray is preparing for a long, tough campaign at the US Open and expecting a bumpy ride from a tough draw at Flushing Meadows.
Drawn again in the same half of the championship bracket with Rafael Nadal, whom he beat in last year's semi-final, Murray is once more destined for a last-four meeting with the Spaniard if he is to set up a rematch of last year's decider with top seed and five-time defending champion Roger Federer.
"Once you get to the end of the slams, you need to raise your game, make sure you're playing great tennis," Murray said.
"Sometimes in the first few rounds that's not always the case, because there are obviously different conditions, sometimes you haven't played any matches on the court.
"So you sometimes have to go through some tough moments early in the tournament but it's about finding your way through them and then playing your way in, and by the end of the tournament it's going to be important to do everything well."
Murray is coming off a semi-final defeat to Federer while trying to defend his Cincinnati Masters title.
The Swiss world number one, returning to tennis for the first time since winning his record-breaking 15th grand slam title with a Wimbledon final victory over Andy Roddick, showed the break and adjustment to life as a father of twin girls born five weeks ago had taken none of his brilliance away as he won 6-2, 7-6.
"I started the match a bit sluggish and left a lot of balls in the middle of the court," Murray said.
"It's easy to say if he looked like he's playing more aggressive or he changed his game style a little bit and was coming forward a lot but I think if you watch Roger playing against anybody, if you leave the ball in the middle of the court against him, you give him enough second serves to attack.
"He comes forward against anyone and I gave him too many opportunities to do that in the first set, and then once I started hitting the ball better in the second, he didn't have any chances really on my serve. I had a couple of set points to take it into a third. So it wasn't a whole lot different."