Rinky Hijikata knows one swallow doesn't make a summer as the emerging star stays firmly grounded after a breakout year on the ATP Tour.
Hijikata hit a career-high No.70 in October, but insists his foray to the US Open fourth round counts for little going forward.
The 22-year-old has already learned the hard way that a second-week grand-slam charge guarantees nothing, with Hijikata missing direct entry to the returning Brisbane International starting on December 31.
Hijikata will need to qualify or hope for a wildcard to make the crack field for the season-opening tournament.
And he's OK with that.
"I feel like there's still a lot of areas in my game where I need to improve," Hijikata told AAP.
"I don't feel like I'm anywhere close to where I have to be to compete with these top guys, and that's where you aspire to be.
"So (there's) a big pre-season ahead and I really want to try to put in the work, keep making gains, and hopefully next year I can go in leaps and bounds."
Currently sitting at 71st in the rankings, Hijikata has at least secured his own entry to a grand slam for the first time at next month's Australian Open.
He made the second round this year in Melbourne to vindicate Tennis Australia (TA) awarding him a wildcard, but is eager not to have to rely on charitable offerings from tournament officials any longer.
"My first three grand-slam main draws have all come through wildcards, and obviously I'm very thankful to TA for the opportunities, but it's nice to kind of get there on my own merit," Hijikata said.
"I feel like now I'm proving that I belong there and it's not just a handout.
"I like to get there on my own terms, so I do feel pretty happy with that and hopefully I can stay up there and keep improving and keep moving forward.
"It's been a really exciting year for me. There was a lot of firsts and it was a huge learning curve, and I'm just trying to learn as much as possible."
Hijikata and countryman Jason Kubler will also defend their Australian Open doubles crown in 2024.
"I don't think 'Kubes' and I will go in with too much expectation," he said.
"We didn't get to play with each other too much throughout the rest of the year, and I don't think there'll be too many people out there with high expectations of us.
"But that's how we went into it last year, so we just want to enjoy being able to play at home and play some doubles together and really just enjoy being on court together.
"We're good mates, so I'm sure it'll be fun again, and then we'll see how we go."