World No.8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga believes his involvement in the Hopman Cup will hold him in good stead for the season ahead.
The Frenchman begun the tournament with a 7-5 6-3 victory over Spain's Fernando Verdasco in the first singles rubber but it was not enough to stop his French team losing the tie 2-1, as he and Mathilde Johansson went down in the deciding mixed doubles match.
Despite the team's loss, Tsonga was happy with his individual performance and is hopeful he can carry on in the same vein as he continues to prepare for the Australian Open, which begins on January 14.
"Yeah, it's always tough [at the start of the season]," said Tsonga.
"You have to be really focused, even on a match like this where it doesn't affect your ranking on the tour.
"For me, these three matches [in the Hopman Cup] are really important and they will tell me if I am in a good shape or not.
"It was not easy - at the beginning of the match he [Fernando Verdasco] played well.
"Then I woke up and played a lot better, and it was a good match for me. I'm happy to win the first match of the season and I hope I will continue to win like this."
Tsonga also spoke about the affection he receives from the crowd wherever he goes, admitting that while he doesn't go out of his way to entertain the gallery, he is happy nonetheless to be a fan favourite.
"I'm just myself. I don't want to play with the crowd. What I want is just to play good tennis and play well, and then I'm just myself. If the crowd like me because of that, then wonderful," he said.
"It's part of my game and it's a part of me [his celebrations]. It's not about not being serious or not wanting to do it. For me, it's something serious. For everybody else, it's something entertaining but, for me, it means something."