Andy Murray insists his poor start to 2017 has not been a result of the extra pressure that comes with being world number one.
The Scot swept to the top of the rankings for the first time during the second half of last year but has largely struggled to add to his advantage in the standings.
Despite winning in both Qatar and Dubai, Murray could only make the last 16 of the Australian Open and struggled in both Indian Wells and Monte Carlo.
An elbow injury has not helped his cause but he did show signs of improvement last week in Barcelona, reaching the semi-finals before going down to Austria’s Dominic Thiem.
The 29-year-old now has a few days off to recharge his batteries ahead of the Rome Masters.
His ultimate goal for the clay court season is undoubtedly to claim the French Open, a tournament he is 6.00 to win, with Rafael Nadal the 2.30 favourite.
Murray admits it is hard to find a reason as to why he has been so inconsistent this season but insists it has nothing to do with feeling any extra pressure regarding his number one ranking.
He said: “I’m now getting asked about it every week.
It’s almost like trying to find a reason for why this year hasn’t been as good as the end of last year but it did not have anything to do with being world number one, in my opinion.
“I haven’t felt different when I go on to the court, I didn’t feel different when I was preparing for the Australian Open as I did in previous years. I really don’t think it has been anything to do with that.”