Tim Henman's miserable year continued with a first-round exit at the US Open but the British No 1 vowed to come back stronger from his latest setback.
Henman was a semifinalist at last year's US Open and French Open as he enjoyed the best year of his career, finishing sixth in the end-of-year world rankings.
But the No 12 seed's appearance at Flushing Meadows this year was shortlived as he was easily overcome by unseeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.
With a superb year behind him, hopes were high for Henman at Wimbledon in June, but he crashed out in the second round against Dmitry Tursunov.
And little has improved since, with Henman winning just once since his Wimbledon exit, and he has now failed to make it past the third round of any of this year's Grand Slam events.
"After having my best year in the Slams last year, it's probably been one of my most disappointing," said Henman.
"I think when I look in the context of the last so many years, I've played very, very consistently.
"This has been a difficult year, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't deter me to make sure that I get back to the basics of working hard, practising hard and enjoying what I do.
"That was an issue for me the first six or seven months. For the first time I was a little burned out after these number of years playing."
Spending so long at the top level has begun to take its toll on Henman's body, with his progress this year hindered by a persistent back problem.
The 30-year-old, who turns 31 on September 6, took more than a month off after Wimbledon to rest and get mentally refreshed, and he unsuccessfully requested a Wednesday start in New York to further rest his back.
"Perhaps 24 hours might have made a difference," he added. "That we'll never know.
"I'll definitely rest now because that's what it needs because of the (back) inflammation, but I've got some time.
"I'll get it right because there's been a long period of time I haven't played my best tennis, but it hasn't been an issue.
"It is frustrating that it's been an issue for this event but I'll go back and get it under control and then I'll be able to concentrate on improving my game."
Henman's next scheduled tournament is the Thailand Open, which begins in Bangkok on September 26.
British No 2 Greg Rusedski also bowed out in the first round. Despite playing some high quality tennis of his own, the 28th seed was quite simply outplayed by the New York-born 25-year-old, James Blake.
Blake was quite simply magnificent, beating the 1997 runner-up in three sets, 7-5, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3.
Fresh from his second ATP tour event win at New Haven last week, the local favourite had far too many shots for the 32-year-old Brit.
Both players broke serve early in the first set, but Rusedski looked the player under more pressure throughout as the athletic Blake moved smoothly around the court.
The Brit had a set point at 5-4 in the first, but Blake fought back and broke Rusedski in the next game, eventually taking the set 7-5.
Rusedski began the second set in more determined mood, hitting a flurry of early aces to race through his own service games while looking to capitalise on Blake's serve to try to get himself back into the match.
Despite a wobble on his serve at 5-5 in the second set, Rusedski managed to hold on to take the set into a tie-break.
But he had no answer to Blake's superb range of shots from the back of the court, with the American winning 7-3.
Rusedski again started the third set brightly, but he was worn down by a succession of brilliant winners from the exciting young American.
Blake broke Rusedski's serve in the sixth game of the third set, with a series of thunderous returns of serve that were just too good for the Brit, and he eventually won the set 6-3.