Marin Cilic has spoken of his desire to once again compete at the top of men's tennis following a disappointing, injury-hit 2015 season.
Cilic recorded the biggest win of his career to date in 2014 as he defeated Kei Nishikori to secure the US Open title - his maiden grand slam.
However, a shoulder injury saw him miss the first three months of 2015 and he struggled to regain top form upon his return.
Cilic successfully defended the Kremlin Cup in October, but he failed to register a win over a top-10 ranked player all year.
The world number 13 recognises that he must up his game against the best players, but is confident of improving his record.
"I was feeling that I was playing better and better towards the end the season," the Croat told reporters at the Brisbane International, where he will start his season.
"Now I have had a lot of time to train, to also work on some things that I wasn't doing so well in the season.
"I think I'm going to be in a really good position, and looking ahead to the next five months up to the French Open. I don't have any points to defend, so it looks really good for me.
"I had a few matches that I should have won against the top guys that I didn't. I was just feeling that I'm close to making that step forward, but, you know, I think this year is going to be a bit different.
"[But] I need to step up with my tennis. Obviously they are not going to drop down with their level. I need to be the one that needs to step up, to play consistently better.
"I think I need to be also a bit mentally stronger during the matches and getting through the matches with some guys that I should beat more often."