Andy Murray is paying little attention to the world rankings despite becoming the first British player to break into the top three.
The 21-year-old Murray moved ahead of Novak Djokovic in Monday's ATP rankings, leaving him behind only No. 1 Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
But Murray trails the leading pair by a considerable amount and says he is focused only on adding to the three titles he has already won this year, starting with his defense of the Madrid Open this week.
"It's one of those things that if you start focusing on the rankings or on what another player is doing, you kind of take your eye off the ball a little bit," Murray said Monday. "You need to focus on your own matches and try and keep winning.
"The important thing is to concentrate on playing well and not the ranking."
Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski had been Britain's highest-ranked players since the rankings began in 1973, both reaching the No. 4 position Murray had occupied for eight months until Monday.
With 8,990 points, Murray is still significantly behind Federer (10,170) and nowhere near Nadal (15,360).
Federer and Nadal have won 19 Grand Slam titles between them, while Murray can count only an appearance in last year's U.S. Open final as his biggest Grand Slam success.
"To get close to those two or in between Roger and Rafa is a tough thing to do," Murray said. "They are probably two of the best players ever and it wouldn't surprise me if they went down as that."
Murray's chances of trimming the gap this week look slim anyway since the Madrid tournament has been switched from hard courts to clay at the new La Caja Magica complex.
The surface is Nadal's traditional favorite and Murray lost his last match on clay 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 to Juan Monaco in the second round of the Rome Masters two weeks ago. Nadal, Federer and Djokovic are all playing in Madrid this week.
"The surface was obviously better for me last year," Murray said. "I just want to try and win my first match and take each match as they come."
Murray had a first-round bye and will meet Simone Bolelli in his opener.
"I don't play on this surface well enough yet to think past my first match and I play the winner of two very solid clay courters, so I'm not going to think past them," Murray said.
Murray only needs to look at Nadal for an example of how to improve on an initially unfavored surface.
The clay-court specialist worked hard on grass until he reached the final of Wimbledon in 2006 and 2007, and eventually won it last year.
"I'm obviously impressed with what he has done on clay, but what he's done on grass is a great motivation for me," Murray said. "I feel I can obviously get better on clay and learn how to play better and get onto the second week and go deep at the French Open.
"That's why he's so good. Every weakness he had when he joined the tour he's always looking to improve, and even though when he's No. 1 in the world and so far in front in the rankings, you see him on the practice court and he's always giving 110 percent."