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MONTREAL (Reuters) - Andy Murray's North American hard court seasons have had blazing starts the last two years winning back-to-back Canadian titles only to see his play cool off at the U.S. Open.
But after watching his title defense come to a shock end with a 6-3 6-1 loss to South African Kevin Anderson on Tuesday at the Montreal Masters, the world number four will employ a little reverse psychology in this year's buildup to Flushing Meadows.
"The last few years I played probably my best tennis here and then at the U.S. Open not played so well," Murray told reporters. "I would still have rather played better today.
"But I'll try and do well in the doubles with (brother) Jamie and then get myself ready for Cincinnati because I'll need to get some matches in for the U.S. Open.
"Obviously that's the goal, is to play my best tennis there (U.S. Open)."
For all his success on the Canadian hard courts, which include two other semi-finals appearances as well as two titles, Murray has been unable to translate it into U.S. Open success losing in the third round last year and the fourth round in 2009.
In 2008, the Briton won the Cincinnati Masters, his final tune-up before heading to New York and advanced to the final before losing to Roger Federer.
After his Montreal meltdown, Murray will be counting a strong performance in Cincinnati next week to once again provide a springboard into the year's final grand slam.
The Scotsman was at a loss to explain his miserable showing in Montreal having prepared in much the same way he has the past two years that saw him end the week lifting the trophy.
"Sometimes you make mistakes with your preparation but I've done pretty similar stuff that I always do coming here," said Murray. "It's just really a bad day.
"I'm not exactly sure why because it's normal to be a little bit nervous and not play your best when you haven't played in awhile.
"I'll try and do well in the doubles and get myself ready for Cincinnati because I'll need to get some matches in."
Murray arrived in Canada sporting a new short-cropped haircut and praising a new diet.
Taking a page out of Novak Djokovic's cookbook, Murray hopes that a change in his eating habits will provide him with the same boost in fitness the Serb has experienced and helped propel him to the world's top ranking, two Grand Slam titles and a 48-1 record this year.
Murray claims the new diet has left him more energetic but he looked lethargic against Anderson.
Playing his first event since a semi-final loss to Rafa Nadal at Wimbledon, Murray spent the last few weeks putting himself through a grueling training camp in Miami that may have left him drained.
"I trained in Miami for two weeks before I came here on Thursday," said Murray. "I've been training for pretty much two and a half weeks.
"I'll have a look at it the next couple of days and see.
I should have played more points and more sets maybe. I don't know because I didn't feel that comfortable once the points got started.
"You need to train hard these days to be at the top."
Editing by Greg Stutchbury