While this year has been a historic one for British tennis, Heather Watson is unlikely to look back on it with too much fondness.
In January, Watson was riding the crest of a wave. Having recently won her first WTA title and perched inside the Top 50, the tennis world appeared to be her oyster. And at first it looked like this upward trajectory would continue, as a third round appearance at the Australian Open and a quarterfinal in Memphis propelled her to a career-high ranking of No.39.
A bout of glandular fever, however, stopped her progress in its tracks, contributing to a run of poor form before forcing her off the tour entirely for the best part of two months.
On her return, progress was slow as the 21-year-old struggled to rediscover both form and fitness. A run of poor results saw her slip down the rankings and also part with her coach of the last two years, Mauricio Hadad.
After working with the LTA's Jeremy Bates for the remainder of the season, Watson appointed Florida-based Diego Veronelli earlier this month.
Watson and Veronelli have been working together in London for the past few weeks and will travel to Australia on December 30, where Watson is scheduled to play in Brisbane, Sydney and at the Australian Open.
Despite her recent struggles, the Briton is upbeat ahead of the new campaign.
"Getting ill and getting glandular fever this year was just an obstacle. It's done now, it's finished," Watson said. "It happens, people have setbacks. I'm definitely looking forward to putting it behind me and starting fresh in 2014."
Before setting off Down Under, Watson took time out of her pre-season training to help inspire Britain's next generation of sporting talent at Statoil's Heroes Of Tomorrow programme at the Royal Albert Hall.
"I love playing at the Royal Albert Hall, and I love being able to spend time with the children," Watson added. "I was about 11 years old when Tim Henman came to do a clinic and I will never forget that and it really inspired me and meant so much, so it's really important for me to give back when I can as an ambassador for Statoil's Heroes of Tomorrow."