US Open champion Andy Murray admitted on Tuesday that winning his first Grand Slam had been a huge relief but said reaching the world number one ranking would be tough in an era of such intense competition.
The 25-year-old's victory in New York last month was Britain's first men's singles win in a major since the 1930s, and led to inevitable speculation about when the Scot would reach the top spot for the first time.
The Shanghai Masters defending champion, currently world number three behind Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, whom he beat in the US Open final, said he was focusing on each tournament and achieving consistency.
"I hope it gives me some more confidence when I'm on the court," said Murray of his US Open triumph. "You know, that's the one thing that I hope I would have got out of it.
"I mean, I haven't felt so different. I felt, yeah, a lot of relief. It was a big weight off my back at the time. So, you know, getting on the practice court, getting in the gym and stuff, has become a bit easier probably.
"Sometimes when you've had a lot of hard losses, you sometimes question whether doing all that stuff is worth it," he said, admitting the absence of a Grand Slam had been playing on his mind.
Murray, whose highest ranking was number two, said the top spot was a reward for playing consistently good tennis throughout the whole season.
"You need to focus more on the process and not so much just 'number one, number one'. I need to concentrate on the tournaments and the events that I'm playing," said the Scot.
"I'll try to do as well as I can between now and the end of the year. If I do that, there's a possibility to get to number one next year.
"But it's so hard to do just now because of what the guys ahead of me are doing every single week. But to get to number one, you need to win Grand Slams. The Australian Open is obviously the next major focus for me."
Murray opens his defence of his Shanghai Masters crown on Wednesday with a second-round match against Germany's Florian Mayer, with Federer and Djokovic as his main rivals in the eastern Chinese city.
Serbia's Djokovic, who on Sunday won the China Open, reiterated on Tuesday his desire to return to the top of the rankings.
"Well, number one of the world is a goal for me till the end of the year, definitely an objective, something I try to achieve.
"But it's not daily on my mind. You know, I obviously try to focus on my day-to-day commitments that I have," added Djokovic, who will meet Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov in his opener.
The top eight seeds have first-round byes.